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Federal Judge Vacates Listing of Lesser Prairie-ChickenLesser Prairie Chicken

On September 1, 2015, the U.S. District Court: Western District of Texas: Midland-Odessa Division vacated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Final Rule listing the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus; LPC) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Senior United States District Judge Robert Junell granted summary judgement to the plaintiffs (Permian Basin Petroleum Association; Chaves County, New Mexico (NM); Roosevelt County, NM; Eddy County, NM; and Lea County, NM) that the, “[US]FWS failed to properly apply [Policy for Evaluation of Conservation Efforts When Making Listing Decisions] PECE to its evaluation of the [Range-wide Plan] RWP resulting in material error. This caused [US]FWS to arbitrarily and capriciously list the LPC as a threatened species.” A copy of the Order Granting Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgement can be found here.

If you have questions regarding the decision or how any state- or federally-listed species may affect your project, please contact aci consulting’s Austin office.


Today the USFWS determined the Georgetown salamander (Eurycea naufragia) and Salado salamander (Eurycea chisolmensis) warrant federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.  The USFWS issued a final rule to list the species as threatened under the Act and the USFWS designated no critical habitat for the species.

The federal register document of the final rule can be downloaded here:

In the final rule, USFWS notes their intent to implement the recently pass City of Georgetown Water Quality Ordinance as a Section 4(d) rule as available under the Act for threatened species.  The USFWS opens also opens a 60-day comment period regarding the 4(d) rule on February 24th.

A distribution map of the locations known to USFWS of Georgetown salamander can be viewed here:

City of Georgetown Ordinance Approved December 20, 2013

On December 20, 2013, City of Georgetown approved a water quality protection ordinance that may preclude the listing of the Georgetown salamander by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The City of Georgetown approved the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone Water Quality Ordinance, which establishes setbacks for occupied Georgetown salamander springs, unoccupied springs and streams within the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone that occur within the City of Georgetown or its Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ).  The ordinance is effective immediately.

aci consulting prepared a map of the area affected by the ordinance that can be viewed here:

The ordinance can be downloaded below:


and the supporting details of setbacks and protection measures (Exhibit A) can be downloaded below:


The timeline for listing dictates that USFWS must determine to list or not list the species by February, 2014.

If you have questions regarding the recent Georgetown ordinance or the status of the Georgetown salamander, please contact aci consulting’s Austin office.