At least nine more species will be added in Texas to the native Endangered Species List, mostly freshwater mussels that may affect property rights around any freshwater body.
To keep up with the endangered species the 81st Legislature created the Interagency Task Force on Economic Growth and Endangered Species. The task Force serves to provide information and coordination on activities related to endangered species and economic growth in the state. Members of the task force are the Comptroller (presiding officer), TDA, TPWD, TSSWCB and TXDOT.
They have created a website – http://www.txendangeredspecies.org – to serve as a resource for information and updates on endangered species issues of interest to landowners, communities and businesses in Texas. They will be updating this site with additional species information in the coming months. There is a link on the homepage to sign up for updates from the task force as there are new developments of interest.
As you follow these issues, please let them know if they can provide assistance or information. Please contact Cary Dupuy at Cary.Dupuy@cpa.state.tx.us.
A few endangered species updates that might be of interest.
On March 8, 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced the agency is initiating a status review to determine if listing the Texas kangaroo rat is warranted. This species is known to be found in Archer, Childress, Hardeman, Motley and Wichita counties. Public comments due: May 9, 2011. More information and instructions for submitting public comments can be found in the March 8, 2011, issue of the Federal Register (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2011/pdf/2011-5177.pdf)
The USFWS is proposing to list the dunes sagebrush lizard as endangered. In Texas the habitat of this species is found in portions of Andrews, Gaines, Ward and Winkler counties. More information can be found in the Dec. 14, 2010, issue of the Federal Register (edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-31140.pdf)
At the last meeting of the Interagency Task Force on Economic Growth and Endangered Species on February 22, 2011, USFWS discussed the steps the agency is taking to review the status of the lesser prairie-chicken as part of the initial stages of the listing process for this species. Additional information about this process can be found in the USFWS lesser prairie-chicken factsheet (http://www.fws.gov/southwest/PDFs/LPCfactsheet.pdf).
USFWS is proposing approximately 6,906 acres for revised or designated critical habitat for 9 invertebrates in Bexar County. More information and instructions for submitting public comments can be found in the February 22, 2011, issue of the Federal Register (http://www.texasahead.org/economic_developer/endangered_species/tfupdates/Feb2210/fed%20register_76%2035.pdf) and on the USFWS frequently asked questions. (www.fws.gov/southwest/docs/BEXARFINALFAQ022011.pdf)
Recently, USFWS issued Draft Voluntary Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines. These draft guidelines are intended to supersede the USFWS’ 2003 voluntary, interim guidelines for land-based wind development. More information and instructions for submitting public comments can be found in the February 18, 2011, issue of the Federal Register (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2011/pdf/2011-3699.pdf) and on the USFWS website (www.fws.gov/windenergy/guidance.html).