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Information about 38TexSec7Consulations

Published on January 16, 2008

Author: Patrizia



Texas NRCS Consultation Section 7 (a) (2) of ESA:  Texas NRCS Consultation Section 7 (a) (2) of ESA Susan Baggett State Resource Conservationist USDA-NRCS, Texas ESA Consultation in TX :  ESA Consultation in TX Two Biological Opinions in place as result of two consultation processes: Leon River Restoration Project (2004) – 773,000 acres in 2 counties in central Texas “Statewide” brush management project (2005)– 25+ millions acres in 62 counties west of I-35 in Texas Brief Background:  Brief Background Increased funding of Farm Bill programs Locally-led processes indicated increasing interest in brush management Culture of strong private lands rights Presence of T & E Species Brush Management:  Brush Management GM 190.410.22:  GM 190.410.22 (e)(5) Section 7 (a)(2) of the ESA (i) NRCS is required to consult with the Services when NRCS financial assistance will be provided to landowners for implementing planned practices for which a “may affect” determination has been made. Initiate the Process:  Initiate the Process Working with the workgroup, NRCS assessed plant and animal species listed as threatened or endangered whose range coincided with the range of the 4 target brush species 2 birds 2 insects 6 fish 1 reptile 2 amphibians 16 plants Honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa):  Honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) Redberry Juniper (Juniperus smallii):  Redberry Juniper (Juniperus smallii) Ashe juniper (Juniperus ashei):  Ashe juniper (Juniperus ashei) Salt cedar (Tamarix spp.):  Salt cedar (Tamarix spp.) Eleven Conservation Practices Addressed in BA:  Eleven Conservation Practices Addressed in BA Brush Management Mechanical Chemical Prescribed Burning Firebreak Prescribed Grazing Fence Eleven Conservation Practices Addressed in BA - continued:  Eleven Conservation Practices Addressed in BA - continued Grazing Land Mechanical Treatment Pipeline Pond Range Planting Upland Wildlife Habitat Management Watering Facility Seven 2002 Farm Bill Programs Addressed:  Seven 2002 Farm Bill Programs Addressed Conservation Security Program Environmental Quality Incentive Program Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program Grassland Reserve Program Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative Wetland Reserve Program Wildlife Habitat Conservation Program Biological Assessment:  Biological Assessment During the biological assessment process, the NRCS determined that a proposed program action - i.e. brush management on these four brush species - “may affect” two of the species assessed - the GCW and BCV NRCS requested consultation from USFWS under Section 7(a) (2) of ESA Golden-cheeked Warbler (GCW) :  Golden-cheeked Warbler (GCW) Black-capped vireo (BCV):  Black-capped vireo (BCV) Summary of Provisions of BO:  Summary of Provisions of BO Specific acreages of GCW and BVC habitat allowed as “incidental take” Maximum acreages set for all recovery areas Reasonable and prudent measures described Habitat ID and treatment guidelines established for BCV and GCW Summary of Provisions of BO-cont.:  Summary of Provisions of BO-cont. Required habitat management plan written for each program participant by biologist of NRCS or state wildlife agency Includes accelerated training of NRCS employees and partners on identification of all T&E species Summary of Provisions of BO -cont.:  Summary of Provisions of BO -cont. NRCS, landowners, and brush contractors are required to attend training on habitat ID and treatment criteria Duration of biological opinion is for “all contracts funded prior to the expiration of the 2002 Farm Bill” PROCESS RECAP:  PROCESS RECAP Meeting called by state Sec of Ag Workgroup formed, led by NRCS NRCS worked with workgroup to develop biological assessment (BA) BA presented to USWFS USFWS issued Biological Opinion (BO) Members of Consultation Workgroup w/ NRCS:  Members of Consultation Workgroup w/ NRCS Audubon Texas Central Texas Cattlemen’s Association Environmental Defense Texas Cooperative Extension Texas Department of Agriculture Texas Farm Bureau Texas Parks and Wildlife Department The Nature Conservancy Texas Wildlife Association US Fish and Wildlife Service Time Frame:  Time Frame Leon River Restoration Project – 80 days “Statewide” Brush Management Project –– 256 days Varied with size of project area, complexity of resources, amount of available resource information and experience level of key players Is it worth the investment?:  Is it worth the investment? Absolutely, unequivocally …YES! It is a WIN-WIN process Now I just have to convince the rest of the State Leadership Team with NRCS in TX of that … KEYS TO SUCCESS::  KEYS TO SUCCESS: Partnerships Trust Communication Willingness to collaborate High-quality technical information Strong desire to move forward Ability to implement provisions Many thanks to … :  Many thanks to … Gary Valentine, State Biologist for NRCS in Texas (retired 11/1/2004) Thank you for listening:  Thank you for listening

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