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Stay up to date with findings from our aci team.

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.

Posted by: In: TPDES 17 Jun 2013 0 comments

According to The Advocate for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the recently reissued TPDES Construction General Permit – TXR150000 for stormwater discharges became effec­tive March 5, 2013. All authorizations issued under the previous general permit expired whether or not a Notice of Termination was submitted.

Operators of large construction activi­ties authorized under the expired permit have 90 days to submit a new Notice of Intent (NOI) and application fee to obtain coverage under the new permit. The deadline to renew permit coverage for sites that have not reached final stabilization is Monday, June 3, 2013.

Operators of both large and small construction activities must develop a new Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWP3) to address any new permit requirements applicable to their sites.

Smaller construction activities are regulated under the CGP though a permit application and fee are not required.
Operators may obtain immediate coverage using the State of Texas Environmental Electronic Reporting System for submitting stormwater forms and payment. For information about creating and using a STEERS account, click here.

More information about the CGP is available here.

Posted by: In: Cultural Resources 12 Jun 2013 0 comments

Aci-Blog Photo

I was recently published in the Holocene and wanted to share my work.

Abstract:

Climatic fluctuations that occurred in North Africa during the early and middle Holocene had a profound impact on the environment of the region and would have required human populations in the area to adapt their subsistence and economic strategies in equally significant ways. Capsian groups, located in eastern Algeria and southern Tunisia from approximately 10,000 to 6000 cal. BP, were among the last North African foragers at a time when other groups were abandoning food collection to engage in food production in the form of pastoralism. Capsian foragers relied heavily on land snails, but we have little information on their use of plant resources, which can be an important indicator of economic adaptation to environmental change. In this study we use phytolith analyses at the Capsian site of Aïn Misteheyia in eastern Algeria to track the changes in subsistence strategies throughout much of the middle-Holocene climatic transitions. Our results show that Capsian foragers exploited plants such as sedges and small-seeded grasses from wetland microenvironments within their home ranges which allowed them to demonstrate robust and resilient resource procurement strategies, and maintain a foraging lifestyle resistant to major fluctuations in climate.

Click here to read the full text.