EAI’s project manager and coastal protected species division lead, Grace Botson, is attending the National Habitat Conservation Planning (HCP) Coalition Annual Meeting this week in Austin, Texas! An active participant in Habitat Conservation Planning, EAI and Grace are thrilled to network with other policymakers and scientists to learn and discuss HCP development and implementation. Grace was able to attend a field trip to explore the San Marcos Aquatic Resources Center, home to the Edwards Aquifer Refugia Program. Several endemic species are covered by the Edwards Aquifer HCP. Photos below show the Barton Springs Salamander, Texas Blind Salamander, Houston Toad (all endangered), and submerged aquatic vegetation.
EAI has extensive experience with the development of HCPs and Environmental Assessments (EA) in support of federal Incidental Take Permit (ITP) applications. When characterizing current and projected impacts to protected species, EAI relies on objective, scientific analyses, while employing sensitivity to local social, cultural, and economic interests. The monitoring programs, policies, and administrative procedures incorporated into our conservation plans are designed to coordinate efforts among affected stakeholders and lead to long-term stability and/or recovery of target populations.
No other organization has more experience in developing and implementing large-scale sea turtle HCP than EAI. EAI prepared the first countywide HCP in Florida (Volusia County) to protect sea turtles and piping plovers from beach driving. Following issuance of the ITP, EAI implemented the HCP and served Volusia County in the capacity of Protected Species Specialist (PSS), managing volunteer sea turtle monitoring activities on 10.5 miles of beach south of Ponce de Leon Inlet.
[Barton Springs Salamander]
[Texas Blind Salamander]
[submerged aquatic vegetation]