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Stay up to date with findings from our aci team.

Posted by: In: Clean Water Act 28 Aug 2015 0 comments

A North Dakota federal judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) new Clean Water Rule from taking effect. The new rule, which further defines the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA), was to take effect today, August 28, 2015. The injunction is based on lawsuits brought by 13 states arguing the rule will diminish the states’ authority over waters. In all, 29 states, along with various other groups have filed suits to block the rule.

The EPA issued a statement shortly after the ruling declaring the new Clean Water Rule to be effective in all states but the 13 that filed for the injunction: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

If you have questions regarding the new rule or how it may affect a current or proposed project, please contact aci consulting’s Austin office.

Posted by: In: Clean Water Act 25 Aug 2015 0 comments

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New Clean Water Rule in Effect August 28, 2015

On May 27, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) published the Clean Water Rule: Definition of ‘‘Waters of the United States.’’ This rule further defines the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA), such as adjacent waters, waters considered to have a significant nexus to jurisdictional waters, and otherwise isolated waters that occur within a floodplain. This rule goes into effect on Friday, August 28, 2015. A copy of the published rule can be found here.

If you have questions regarding the new rule or how it may affect a current or proposed project, please contact aci consulting’s Austin office.

 

Posted by: In: Technology 15 Jun 2015 0 comments

aci consulting made a strategic connection at the TCEQ Trade Show and Conference! We brought Midstream Integrity Services (MIS) to our Austin office to demonstrate the capabilities of their unmanned aerial systems, commonly known as drones. We were curious to see how we might be able to utilize their technology to streamline some of our inspections to spend less time traveling and more time analyzing data. They can send drones into areas that are difficult to navigate to do 3D mapping, LIDAR (Laser Illuminated Detection and Ranging), Point Cloud Files, and Orthomosaics. Check out the video showing this capability in action.

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.