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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced a 6-month extension on their decision whether or not to add the Texas Hornshell (Popenaias popeii) to the List of Endangered and Threatened Species. The decision comes after disagreement on the status of the species in Mexico.

The comment period has reopened and will remain open until September 11, 2017.

The Service will make a final determination on or before February 10, 2018.

-Read the Federal Register Announcement-

Background:
The Texas Hornshell has been on and off the candidate species lists for more than 25 years, and in 2001 the Service entered into two settlement agreements regarding the species.

Efforts are being made in Texas and New Mexico to preserve the species. In Texas, the Nature Conservancy and state wildlife regulators are managing their lands in the Devils River watershed to reduce sediment and contaminant runoff.

The New Mexico State Land Office (NMSLO) is entering into a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) with the Service. If the Service ultimately adds the species to the List, NMSLO grantees and lessees will have 30 days to enroll in the CCAA if they want to be considered for participation in that program.

aci consulting performs surveys and relocation of this species and other State-listed species.

08/10/2016 Proposed Rule to List
05/30/2017 Comment Period Reopened

On June 5, 2017, The Texas General Land Office (TXGLO), represented by lawyers from the Texas Public Policy Foundation, sued the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) regarding the status of the golden-cheeked warbler (Warbler) as an endangered species. The lawsuit states:

  • The Service has failed to designate critical habitat since the warbler’s listing more than 25 years ago,
  • The Service did not follow its own rules in the 90-Day Finding for the 2015 Petition to Delist, and
  • The Service has failed to look at the best scientific data available.

The lawsuit requests relief in the form of:

  1. The court declaring the final rule listing violated the Service’s nondiscretionary duty because they failed to designate critical habitat and that the final rule is unlawful,
  2. The court declaring the 90-Day Finding on the Petition to Delist violated the law by failing to consider the best scientific data available, and
  3. The Court declaring the final rule listing unlawful, and that the refusal to delist the warbler is unlawful because Defendants failed to comply with NEPA.

The TXGLO claims that the warbler’s listing significantly impacts the market value of certain TXGLO lands diminishing their ability to receive revenue from Texas public lands for the benefit of Texas schoolchildren.

 

2015 Petition to Delist

90-Day Finding

2017 Lawsuit

 

The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has published a Federal Register notice of the availability of a revised policy and new rule for the Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (CCAA). The CCAA is a voluntary conservation program which provides incentives for non-Federal property owners to develop and implement conservation plans for unlisted species. The new rule adds a definition to the term “net conservation benefit” and eliminates references to “other necessary properties.” The revised policy and accompanying rule will go into effect on January 26, 2017.

 

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.

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.