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Posted by: In: Edwards Aquifer 27 Mar 2015 0 comments

Georgetown SalamanderIn February 2015, the City of Georgetown approved clarified Water Quality Regulations for the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone with the further intent of regional protection of the recently-listed Georgetown salamander.  The ordinance is anticipated to be an integral component of a USFWS prepared Section 4(d) Rule related to the Georgetown salamander.  The City council previously codified the water quality ordinance into the Unified Development Code in December 2014.  This newest version includes an appendix to the Unified Development Code which details the federal standards for the known occupied Georgetown salamander sites within Georgetown’s city limits and ETJ.  These federal standards have been included in previous versions of the water quality ordinance and define: 1) No-Disturbance Zone (Red Zone), 2) Minimal-Disturbance Zone (Orange Zone), 3) the adaptive management working group, and 4) requirement for Geologic Assessment to delineate red and orange zones. A copy of the ordinance can be found here.

 

 

The City of Austin has updated the forms used to complete their Environmental Resource Inventories (ERIs).  This is the new terminology for what was formerly their Environmental Assessments (EAs).  In order to finalize the ERIs, coordination with the project engineer is necessary.  Also, variance forms have to be filled out in order to request buffers of less than 150 feet for Critical Environmental Features (CEFs).  These new ERIs went into effect on December 30, 2014.  Additionally, the City has created a redline version of edits they are making to their Environmental Criteria Manual (ECM) to update it in keeping with the various updated forms.  The finalized updated form is available for download here.

Posted by: In: USFWS 16 Sep 2014 0 comments

The US Fish and Wildlife Survey revised their guidance for conducting Presence/Absence Surveys for Karst Invertebrates. The Protocols take effect November 30, 2014. Our Karst Specialist Team is in the process of evaluating this new guidance and information will be forthcoming. The full document issued by the USFWS can be downloaded by clicking here.

Photo Credit: Chad Thomas, fishesoftexas.org

SMALLEYE SHINER
Photo Credit: Chad Thomas, fishesoftexas.org

On August 4, 2014 the USFWS determined endangered species status under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, for the sharpnose shiner (Notropis oxyrhynchus) and smalleye shiner (N. buccula), two fish species from Texas.

The federal register document on the final rule of the Determination of Endangered Species Status for the Sharpnose Shiner and Smalleye Shiner can be downloaded here:

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-08-04/pdf/2014-17692.pdf

Critical habitat for the sharpnose shiner and smalleye shiner has been designated under the Act. USFWS has designated a single critical habitat unit divided into six subunits in Texas. These subunits occupy approximately 1,002 river kilometers, or approximately 623 miles, of the upper Brazos River basin as well as thirty meters of uplands on either side of the river channel.  The six subunits are: 1) Upper Brazos River main stem, 2) Salt Fork of the Brazos River, 3) White River, 4) Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River, 5) North Fork Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River, and 6) South Fork Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River. The sharpnose shiner and smalleye shiner currently occupy these stretches of the upper Brazos River basin.

The federal register document on the final rule of Designation of Critical Habitat for Sharpnose Shiner and Smalleye Shiner can be downloaded here:

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-08-04/pdf/2014-17694.pdf

A map of the critical habitat units for the shaprnose shiner and smalleye shiner can be viewed by clicking here.

Posted by: In: EPA, USACE 26 Mar 2014 0 comments

On March 25th, 2014, EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issued a proposed rule to clarify which waters and wetlands that fall under the agencies’ federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.  The proposed rule aims to clarify the definition and framework where stream and wetlands are considered jurisdictional.

The EPA website with the proposed rule and supporting information can be found here:

http://www2.epa.gov/uswaters

The agencies anticipate a 90-day comment period following the listing of the proposed rule in the Federal Register.

 

Today the USFWS determined the Georgetown salamander (Eurycea naufragia) and Salado salamander (Eurycea chisolmensis) warrant federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.  The USFWS issued a final rule to list the species as threatened under the Act and the USFWS designated no critical habitat for the species.

The federal register document of the final rule can be downloaded here:

In the final rule, USFWS notes their intent to implement the recently pass City of Georgetown Water Quality Ordinance as a Section 4(d) rule as available under the Act for threatened species.  The USFWS opens also opens a 60-day comment period regarding the 4(d) rule on February 24th.

A distribution map of the locations known to USFWS of Georgetown salamander can be viewed here:

City of Georgetown Ordinance Approved December 20, 2013

On December 20, 2013, City of Georgetown approved a water quality protection ordinance that may preclude the listing of the Georgetown salamander by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The City of Georgetown approved the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone Water Quality Ordinance, which establishes setbacks for occupied Georgetown salamander springs, unoccupied springs and streams within the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone that occur within the City of Georgetown or its Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ).  The ordinance is effective immediately.

aci consulting prepared a map of the area affected by the ordinance that can be viewed here:

The ordinance can be downloaded below:

  Ord_Salamander_Second_Reading_12_17_2013

and the supporting details of setbacks and protection measures (Exhibit A) can be downloaded below:

  Exhibit_A_Salamander_Ordinance_Second_Reading.

The timeline for listing dictates that USFWS must determine to list or not list the species by February, 2014.

If you have questions regarding the recent Georgetown ordinance or the status of the Georgetown salamander, please contact aci consulting’s Austin office.