Georgia Ecological Services Field Offices
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NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY AND REQUEST FOR COMMENTS:

Environmental Assessment for Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, Proposed Conservation Actions Restoring and Managing Longleaf Pine Ecosystems in Georgia and Alabama.

January 21, 2014

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), Ecological Services Field Offices of Alabama and Georgia, announce the availability for public review and comment a programmatic Environmental Assessment (EA) for proposed conservation actions restoring and managing longleaf pine ecosystems in Georgia and Alabama.  The EA describes selection criteria and a suite of habitat restoration practices, with associated conservation measures, that we propose for Partners projects in Alabama and Georgia to benefit the gopher tortoise.  Under this program, we would seek landowners with properties that are near existing populations of gopher tortoises and could support this species who are willing to implement the restoration practices, with Service financial and technical assistance, for a minimum of 20 years.  We believe that our proposed program would result in population increases for gopher tortoises, tortoise-commensal species, and other species associated with longleaf pine forests.

DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by February 21, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, or requests for copies or more information, by any of the following methods.  You may request a hard copy or a CD-ROM of the document.

  • Email: shannon_holbrook@fws.gov.  Include “Longleaf Pine Program EA” in the subject line of the message.
  • Fax: Attn: Shannon Holbrook, 251-441-6222.
  • U.S. Mail: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1208-B Main Street, Daphne, AL 36526.
  • In-Person Drop-off, Viewing, or Pickup: call 251-441-5871 to make an appointment (necessary for view/pickup only) during regular business hours at 1208-B Main Street, Daphne, AL 36526 or 706-613-9493 to make an appointment (necessary for view/pickup only) during regular business hours at 105 Westpark Drive, Westpark Center , Suite D, Athens, GA 30606

PUBLIC AVAILABILITY OF DOCUMENTS: In addition to requesting a copy of the EA by any of the methods in ADDRESSES, you can view or obtain the EA at our web sites:

 

DOCUMENT DOWNLOAD: Environmental Assessment for Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, Proposed Conservation Actions Restoring and Managing Longleaf Pine Ecosystems in Georgia and Alabama.

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Shannon Holbrook, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, 251-441-5871; Shannon_holbrook@fws.gov

 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes Threatened Status and Critical Habitat Designation for the Georgia Rockcress

Georgia rockcress

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to list the Georgia rockcress as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Only found in Georgia and Alabama, the plant has been a candidate for listing as a Threatened species since 2000.

At the same time, the Service also is proposing to designate about 786 acres of river bluff habitat as the plant’s critical habitat.  The proposed critical habitat areas in Georgia include lands in Gordon, Floyd, Harris, Muscogee, Chattahoochee, and Clay Counties.  In Alabama, the proposed critical habitat designation includes areas in Bibb, Dallas, Elmore, Monroe, Russell, Sumter and Wilcox Counties.

 

Press Release (.pdf)

Proposed Listing Rule (.pdf)

Proposed Critical Habitat Rule (.pdf)

UTM Coordinates for Proposed Critical Habitat (.pdf)

 

Service releases draft economic analysis for Coastal Beach Critical Habitat previously proposed for the Recovery of Northwest Atlantic Population of Loggerhead Sea Turtles

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is releasing the estimated cost and economic impacts of its proposal to designate terrestrial critical habitat for the Northwest Atlantic population of loggerhead sea turtles in coastal areas of six southeastern U.S. states.

The draft economic analysis considered the potential impact of the designation on various sectors of the economy. On average, of the potential annual $150,000 costs associated with the designation, 46% would be borne by the Service, 38% by other Federal Agency costs, and the remaining 16% to the project proponents. These proponents could include counties doing beach nourishment projects, or private or corporate applicants doing some type of beach construction.

In association with the Notice of Availability, which publishes in the Federal Register tomorrow, the Service has in response to public requests also scheduled three public hearings: August 6 in Charleston, SC; August 7 in Wilmington, NC and August 8 in Morehead City, NC. See the notice and press release for full details.

The Service is also re-opening the public comment period for 60 days on the proposal and the associated draft economic analysis.

Written comments and materials concerning the economic analysis or any aspect of the proposed critical habitat designation may be submitted electronically (preferred) at http://www.regulations.gov under docket # FWS–R4–ES–2012–0103 or via mail to Public Comments Processing; Attn: Docket # FWS–R4–ES–2012–0103, Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 North Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.

All electronic comments must be received by 11:59 PM, September 16, 2013. Comments and materials submitted by mail must be postmarked no later than September 16, 2013. All comments must include a first and last name, city, state, country and zip code.

Comments and information previously submitted need not be resubmitted; these will beincorporated with all other comments and considered in making the final decision.

Federal Register Notice of Availability for Draft Economic Analysis - PDF version - 238KB

Direct link to submit comments via regulations.gov

Draft Economic Analysis Report - PDF - 1.8MB

Federal Register Notice for Proposed Critical Habitat (text) - PDF version - 9.44MB

 

Click here for more information on the Draft Economic Analysis Report or the Proposed Critical Habitat for the Northwest Atlantic Population of Loggerhead Sea Turtles.

 

 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Endangered Species Act Protection and Critical Habitat Designation for Three Plants in the Southeast

 

Short's bladderpod and Whorled Sunflower

Short's bladderpod - photo credit: John MacGregor
Whorled Sunflower - photo credit: Alan Cressler

 

 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to list three plants as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. At the same time, the Service also proposes to designate critical habitat for these species. Those plants are Short’s bladderpod, whorled sunflower, and fleshy-fruit gladecress. Collectively, these plants occur in Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and Alabama.

News Release (.pdf)

Frequently Asked Questions (.pdf)

Proposed Listing Rule (.pdf)

Proposed Critical Habitat Rule (.pdf)

 

 

Recovering the robust redhorse - a fish once thought to be extinct

Robust redhorse

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with Georgia Power, the State of Georgia, the U.S. Geological Survey and other partners to recover the robust redhorse—a fish once thought to be extinct. Click HERE to watch a video about the effort.

 

 

 

Stream Crossing Initiative

Athens ES Office embarks on a stream crossing initiative to make stream crossings more passable by fish and other wildlife.

Culvert image

Stream-road crossings can impede the upstream and downstream movement of aquatic organisms, including fish, salamanders, and invertebrates. Consequently, the US Army Corps of Engineers worked with state and federal natural resource agencies to develop specific Regional Conditions that are intended to minimize impacts to fish passage following the construction of crossings. This website offers valuable resources to those wanting to learn more about the importance of fish passage, general methods that can be used to minimize impacts to streams, and guidance to those that are applying for permits to build culverts and bridges. Examples of fish passable and impassable crossings are provided, along with a fact sheet that describes this initiative.

GIS Data

We now have data available depicting the general range for many of the threatened and endangered species that reside in Georgia. Click here for more information.
Conasauga Logperch Range


 

 

Latest News

 

Stream Crossing Handbook now available for download

Stream Crossing Handbook

 

Finding a Killer: On the Trail of White-nose Syndrome

GA DNR biologist surveys bats

 

Speeding up Nature by Thousands of Years

Last updated: February 11, 2014