Collaborative Research and Monitoring efforts lead to Proposed Downlisting of Tobusch Fishhook Cactus
Tobusch fishhook cactus, a small two-inch cactus armed with curved “fishhook” spines, is a rare plant known only from the Edwards Plateau of Texas. In 1979, only about 200 plants were known in four locations. Today, more than 4,000 Tobusch fishhook cacti are known to exist in eight central Texas counties, thanks to the hard work of many partners, including the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Texas Department of Transportation, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, The Nature Conservancy, and central Texas landowners. As a result, the Service is proposing to downlist the cactus under the Endangered Species Act from endangered to threatened. A 60-day public comment period will begin upon publication of the proposal in the Federal Register. The Service will accept comments received or postmarked by or before February 27, 2017. For more information on the proposal, what to comment on, or how to submit comments, see the Federal Register notice below.
News Release (56 KB, PDF)
Frequently Asked Questions (132 KB, PDF)
Federal Register Notice (308 KB, PDF)
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes to Protect Guadalupe Fescue Under the Endangered Species Act
Service is Working with National Park Service and Mexico to Conserve West Texas plant
The high mountains of the Chihuahuan Desert in the Trans-Pecos region of Texas and the State of Coahuila, Mexico are home to Guadalupe fescue, a short-lived perennial grass species. Only two populations are known to exist, one in the Chisos Mountains within Big Bend National Park and one in the Maderas del Carmen Mountains in northern Mexico. The Service is proposing to list Guadalupe fescue as endangered and designate critical habitat within Big Bend National Park. The proposals will be available in the Federal Register Reading room on Thursday, September 8th and will publish in the Federal Register on Friday, September 9th. Public comments will be accepted through November 8, 2016.
News Release (188 KB, PDF)
Frequently Asked Questions (352 KB, PDF)
Proposed Listing Federal Register Notice (264 KB, PDF)
Proposed Critical Habitat Federal Register Notice (672 KB, PDF)
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Evaluating Safe Harbor Agreement for the Houston Toad
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is pleased to announce that the Draft Houston Toad Programmatic Safe Harbor Agreement (Agreement) and Draft Environmental Assessment are now available for public review and comment for a period of 60 days.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has submitted this Draft Agreement and Draft Environmental Assessment along with an application for a section 10(a)(1)(A) enhancement of survival permit with a duration of 30 years. As part of the Agreement, TPWD plans to hold the permit and issue participation certificates to landowners who choose to voluntarily enroll after completing baseline assessments of their properties and entering into cooperative agreements with TPWD. The purpose of the draft Agreement is to conserve self-sustaining populations of the Houston toad in the wild through the implementation of specific conservation activities.
Once finalized, the Agreement would cover conservation activities that take place within the nine Texas counties that make up the Houston toad’s current or recent known range. These include Austin, Bastrop, Burleson, Colorado, Lavaca, Lee, Leon, Milam, and Robertson Counties.
Comments on the draft Agreement or draft Environmental Assessment may be submitted by one of the methods below, and must be received no later than October 28, 2016.
- U.S. Mail: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Austin Ecological Services Field Office, 10711 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78758
- Fax: 512-490-0974
- Electronically: email@example.com
For more information, click on the links to the documents below:
New Release (476 KB, PDF)
Frequently Asked Questions (284 KB, PDF)
Draft Programmatic Safe Harbor Agreement (1.26 MB, PDF)
Draft Environmental Assessment (500 KB, PDF)
Federal Register Notice (216 KB, PDF)
Last Remaining Native Mussel in New Mexico Proposed for Protection Under the Endangered Species Act
Once abundant throughout rivers in southern New Mexico and the Rio Grande basin in Texas and Mexico, the Texas hornshell, a freshwater mussel, has experienced a dramatic decline. Today, it is the only native mussel remaining in New Mexico and is scarce in Texas, occupying only 15% of its historical U.S. range. After thoroughly reviewing the best available science, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to protect the mussel as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. We are seeking comments on the proposed listing until October 11, 2016. Additional information is available at https://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/TexasCoastal/.
Service Announces Findings on Petition to Delist the Golden-cheeked Warbler
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has completed its review of a petition to remove Endangered Species Act protections for the golden-cheeked warbler (Dendroica chrysoparia). The Service finds that the petition to delist the golden-cheeked warbler did not present substantial information that delisting is warranted. The Service will take no further action on this petition. For more information, follow the link below:
Evaluation of a Petition to Remove the Golden-cheeked Warbler from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife (Regulations.gov website - Docket ID: FWS-R2-ES-2016-0062)
Service Adds Austin Blind Salamader to the Barton Springs Salamander Recovery Plan
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is announcing that the Barton Springs Salamander Recovery Plan Addendum to include the Austin blind salamander has been finalized following a 60-day public comment period that occurred in July 2015. The Barton Springs Salamander Recovery Plan was developed to address the Barton Springs ecosystem as a whole as well as both salamander species that are vulnerable to threats within this ecosystem. We have supplemented the Barton Springs Salamander Recovery Plan to include the Austin blind salamander in the Recovery and Implementation Schedule sections (sections 2.0 and 4.0,respectively) of this addendum.
Recovery Plan with Addendum (1.95 MB, PDF)
Service Issues 90-Day Finding on Bone Cave Harvestman Delisting Petition
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is announcing that a petition to delist the Bone Cave harvestman does not provide substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that delisting the Bone Cave harvestman may be warranted.
News Release (225 KB, PDF)
Federal Register Notice (216 KB, PDF)
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Teams with Conservation Partners to Launch Campaign to Save Beleaguered Monarch Butterfly, Engage Millions of Americans
Friday, February 20, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) launched a major new campaign aimed at saving the declining monarch butterfly. The Service signed a cooperative agreement with the National Wildlife Federation, announced a major new funding initiative with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and pledged an additional $2 million in immediate funding for on-the-ground conservation projects around the country.
News Release (140 KB, PDF)
Texas Pollinator Fact Sheet (620 KB, PDF)
Public Hearing for Proposal to Designate Critical Habitat for Western Yellow-Billed Cuckoo to be Held in Sacramento, CA on December 18, 2014
Thursday, December 18, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) will hold a public hearing on the proposal to designate critical habitat for the western distinct population segment of the yellow-billed cuckoo (western yellow-billed cuckoo). The public hearing will be held at the DoubleTree Inn; 2001 Point West Way; Sacramento, CA 95815 from 2 – 4 p.m. with doors opening at 1:30 p.m. for those wishing to register to speak at the hearing. At the public hearing, the Service will provide opening statements for 20 minutes that will be followed by a 90-minute opportunity for the public to provide verbal comments. The Service will end the hearing session with a few minutes of closing statements.
News Release (187 KB, PDF)
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.
News Release (186 KB, PDF)
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.
News Release (692 KB, PDF)
Link to Federal Register Notice
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.
News Release (248 KB, PDF)
Federal Register Notice Link (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-08-13/pdf/2014-19089.pdf)
Report: Using novel genetic markers and multigenic species delimitation methods to resolve the species status of the cave-dwelling spider species Cicurina wartoni Gertsch from Travis County, Texas (8.07MB, PDF)
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.
News Release ( 184 KB, PDF)
Federal Register Notice (PDF)
Final Economic Analysis (4.1 MB, PDF)
Literature Cited (112 KB, PDF)
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.
See the full list of grants
Learn more about the grant program
Service Protects Six West Texas Invertebrates
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.
News Release (188 KB, PDF)
Federal Register Notice: Listing (472 KB, PDF), Critical Habitat (796 KB, PDF)
Frequently Asked Questions (340 KB, PDF)
Literature Cited (156 KB, PDF)
UTM Coordinates (100 KB, PDF)
Final Economic Analysis (1.42 MB, PDF)
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.
News Release (135 KB, PDF)
Federal Register Notice - Draft Economic Analysis (224 KB, PDF)
Federal Register Notice - Proposed Revision of Critical Habitat (2.1 MB, PDF)
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.
News Release (142 KB PDF)
Questions and Answers (214 KB PDF)
Federal Register Document (243 KB PDF)
Post-Delisting Monitoring Plan (1,317 KB PDF)
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.
Draft Texas Conservation Plan for Dunes Sagebrush Lizard
Draft Environmental Assessment
Federal Register Notice
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.
News Release (139 kb, PDF)
Federal Register Notice (193 kb, PDF)
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.