Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
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Williamson County Final Environmental Impact Statement Notice Published in Federal Register
Southwest Region, August 16, 2008
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Federal Register Notices were published by the Service on September 16, 2008, and by EPA on September 18, 2008, announcing the final Environmental Impact Statement and Regional Habitat Conservation Plan for Williamson County, Texas related to the issuance of an incidental take permit, pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act (Act) of 1973, as amended.  The 30-day waiting period for the permit to be issued ends October 20, 2008.  The permit, for a period of 30 years, will authorize incidental take of the following federally listed species: two birds, golden-cheeked warbler (Dendroica chrysoparia), and black-capped vireo (Vireo atricapilla); and two underground (karst) invertebrates, Bone Cave harvestman (Texella reyesi), and Coffin Cave mold beetle (Batrisodes texanus).  The  take would occur in Williamson County, Texas, as a result of otherwise lawful activities including road construction, maintenance, and improvement projects; utility construction and maintenance; school development and construction; public or private construction and development; and land clearing.  Such actions cause effects to upland and underground (karst) habitats. 

The regional permit will provide a simplified, quick process for development projects to comply with the Act while providing for conservation of listed species.  Mitigation for the proposed actions for listed birds includes purchasing up to 1,000 acres of credit in an existing conservation bank for golden-cheeked warbler and purchasing additional land containing habitat for in Williamson County.  Mitigation for impacts to karst invertebrates includes acquiring, protecting, and monitoring 9 to 15 areas for conservation of listed species. 

Mitigation will be funded from five primary sources: 1) mitigation fees collected from participants, 2) return on endowment investments, 3) County land acquisition funds for parks and open space, 4) County advance funding from road improvement mitigation funds, and 5) a tax benefit financing program from land developed under the permit. 

Contact Info: Bill Seawell, 512 490-0057, bill_seawell@fws.gov
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