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Bedell Street Bridge Pilot Streamlined Section 7 Consultation Completed
Southwest Region, March 24, 2006
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Austin Ecological Services Office staff, working with Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) staff, completed a pilot streamlined section 7 consultation on the effects the proposed Bedell Street Bridge Replacement on the threatened Devils River minnow in San Felipe Creek, Del Rio, Texas on March 24, 2006. 

The pilot process worked efficiently to expedite the consultation.  The Service was involved in this consultation about 90 days, rather than the more usual 135 days.  With minor adjustments, this new consultation process could be reduced to take only about 30 days of Service involvement.  The intent was to significantly expedite section 7 consultations by placing the control of the consultation schedule and most of the workload associated with a consultation on Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and TxDOT. 

This project was proposed and implemented pursuant to the 2005 transportation bill.  Texas and four other states volunteered to experiment with strategies to streamline transportation consultations with environmental regulatory agencies.  The Austin Office proposed a stepwise expedited timeline where FHWA/TxDOT would write their own effects determination documents through a series of checks and balances with the Service along the way.  This consultation was a pilot to test that process. 

On April 27, 2006, the Service and TxDOT reported these results to FHWA to facilitate discussions on whether or not FHWA would be interested in implementing this strategy State-wide and to discuss strategies on how all agencies can better facilitate consultations over the long term. 

Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov



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