Service to Re-open Public Comment Period for the Western Yellow-Billed Cuckoo Critical Habitat Proposal
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it will re-open the public comment period on its proposal to designate 546,335 acres of critical habitat for the western population of yellow-billed cuckoo in 80 separate units in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. On August 14, 2014, the Service announced an initial 60-day comment period on the proposal that closed October 14, 2014. The Service is reopening the public comment period for an additional 60 days to ensure the public has adequate opportunity to submit comments and to ensure that any final decision reflects all of the best science and information available. The Service is also planning to hold a public hearing on the proposal and will announce the date and location when it is finalized.
Western Yellow-Billed Cuckoo Receives Federal Protection under the Endangered Species Act
The western population of the yellow-billed cuckoo will be protected as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service determined that listing a distinct population segment (DPS) of the bird in portions of 12 western states, Canada and Mexico is warranted. In the U.S., the DPS will cover parts of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Oregon and Washington.
Service Proposes Designation of Critical Habitat for Western Yellow-Billed Cuckoo
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to designate 546,335 acres of critical habitat for the western distinct population segment (DPS) of the yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus) in 80 separate units in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. The bird is a neotropical migrant that winters in South America and nests along rivers and streams in western North America.
In Texas the following two units are proposed:
Unit 79 – Arroyo Caballo, Rio Grande; Hudspeth County – proposed critical habitat is 1,261 acres in extent and an 8 mile long continuous segment along the Rio Grande upstream and downstream from Arroyo Caballo in Hudspeth County, TX.
Unit 80 – Terlingua Creek and Rio Grande; Presidio and Brewster Counties – proposed critical habitat is 7,792 acres in extent and is a 45 mile long continuous segment from lower Terlingua Creek in Presidio County the Rio Grande in Brewster County, TX.
Comments on the proposed critical habitat rule will be accepted through October 14, 2014. Comments may be submitted online at the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. The docket number for the proposed rule is FWS–R8–ES–2013-0011. Comments can also be sent by U.S. Mail or Hand Delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–ES–R8–2013–0011; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; U.S. Fish & Wildlife Headquarters, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.
Service Determines That The Warton’s Cave Meshweaver Does Not Warrant Protection Under The Endangered Species Act
Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced its completion of the status review of the Warton’s cave meshweaver and concluded it does not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service made this finding based on scientific information and review that indicates that Warton’s cave meshweaver is not a distinct species and therefore not a listable entity under the ESA.
A copy of the 12-month finding and other information about the Warton’s cave meshweaver is available at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket Number FWS-R2-ES-2014-0026. Supporting documentation used in preparing this finding is available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Austin Ecological Services Field Office, 10711 Burnet Road, Suite #200, Austin, TX 78758.
Service Revises Critical Habitat for Three Endangered Comal Invertebrates
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today the final revised critical habitat for the Comal Springs dryopid beetle, Comal Springs riffle beetle and Peck’s cave amphipod under the Endangered Species Act. In total, approximately 169 acres in four units are being designated in Comal and Hays Counties, Texas.
Service Boosts State Endangered Species Conservation Efforts with $32 Million in Grants
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced nearly $32 million in grants to 20 states to help advance their collaborative efforts to conserve America’s rarest species. The cooperative grants will provide vital support to efforts by partnering state wildlife agencies and conservation organizations to improve the health of the land and water that supports these species and scores of communities across the nation.
One of this year’s grants will provide the Solana Ranch Preserve (Bell County) Texas with $881,250. This funding will allow the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to acquire a conservation easement on a 256-acre tract located in Bell County to benefit the Salado salamander. The acquisition will provide protection for the species in three of the seven springs in which it is known to occur. Acquisition of the Solana Ranch Preserve will protect an area of 75 percent of the proposed critical habitat units for this species in the Service’s Southwest Region. The acquisition will also protect the quality of cave and spring water, minimize ground water pollution, protect groundwater and spring flow, and exclude cattle and feral hogs.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will protect six species of aquatic invertebrates native to west Texas as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service also designated critical habitat for these species in portions of Reeves, Jeff Davis and Pecos Counties.
The six aquatic invertebrates, the Phantom springsnail, Phantom tryonia, diminutive amphipod, Diamond tryonia, Gonzales tryonia and Pecos amphipod are in danger of extinction due to the loss and degradation of the natural springs that support them. All six invertebrate species are entirely aquatic and occur in spring habitats dependent upon surface flows from groundwater sources for their survival, growth and reproduction.
Service Announces Availability of Draft Economic Analysis for Three Endangered Comal Invertebrates
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released an analysis that estimates the cost related to the revised proposed critical habitat for the Comal Springs dryopid beetle, Comal Springs riffle beetle and Peck’s cave amphipod over the next 20 years. In addition, the Service is announcing the reopening of the comment period for 30 days to allow all interested parties the opportunity to comment on the draft economic analysis, the amended determinations sections and the revised proposed critical habitat rule.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Recovery of the Concho Water Snake
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has removed the Concho water snake from the list of threatened species under the Endangered Species Act and removed the federally designated critical habitat for the Concho water snake. A post-delisting monitoring plan has been prepared.
Service Announces the Availability of a Draft Conservation Plan and Draft Environmental Assessment; Dunes Sagebrush Lizard
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced in the Federal Register on October 6, 2011, a Notice Of Availability (NOA) of a draft Environmental Assessment (dEA) on an application for an enhancement of survival permit under Section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act (Act) of 1973, as amended, for the dunes sagebrush lizard (Sceloporus arenicolus)(DSL). The application was submitted by The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts (TX CPA).
The permit application includes the draft Texas Conservation Plan Dunes Sagebrush Lizard (TX CP DSL) that will function as a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) between the Service and TX CPA for the dunes sagebrush lizard (DSL) throughout its range in Texas.
The proposed CCAA would be in effect for 30 years in west and northwest Texas. This area constitutes the CCAA’s Planning Area, with Covered Areas being private lands and state trust lands that provide suitable habitat or are being improved or restored to provide suitable habitat for the DSL. The Applicant proposes to implement conservation measures for the DSL by removing threats to the survival of these species and protecting their habitat. If the DSL becomes listed in the future, the draft TX CP DSL may also act as a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) in support of future applications for incidental take permits under the ESA.
The draft TX CP DSL and the dEA are available for public review and comment on the potential issuance of the above permits. The comment period runs for 60 days and all comments must be received by December 5, 2011.
Service Determines That Three Moth Species Do Not Warrant Protection Under the Endangered Species Act
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced in the September 27, 2011, Federal Register it has completed a status review of the Tamaulipan agapema (Agapema galbina), Sphingicampa blanchardi (no common name), and Ursia furtiva (no common name) and concluded that they do not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act (Act). The Service made this 12-month finding after a thorough review of all the available scientific and commercial information regarding the status of the three moth species and threats to them. Please submit any new information, materials, comments, or questions concerning the Tamaulipan agapema or Sphingicampa blanchardi to the Corpus Christi Ecological Services Field Office. Please submit any new information, material, comments, or questions concerning Urisa furtiva to the Austin Ecological Services Field Office.
Service Determines the Nueces River and Plateau Shiners Do Not Warrant Protection Under the Endangered Species Act
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced in the August 9, 2011, Federal Register it has completed a status review of the Nueces River shiner (Cyprinella sp.) and plateau shiner (Cyprinella lepida) and concluded that they do not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act. The Service made this 12-month finding after a thorough review of all the available scientific and commercial information regarding the status of the Nueces River shiner and plateau shiner and threats to these species. We request that you submit any new information concerning the status of, or threats to, the species to our Austin Ecological Services Field Office.