At a special meeting of the Blanco County Commissioners Court on July 26, Commissioners were asked to consider a resolution to remove Blanco County from the permit area in the draft and final versions of the Southern Edwards Plateau Habitat Conservation Plan.
The County of Bexar, Texas, and the City of San Antonio made an application to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the Service) for an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) covering activities associated with the proposed Southern Habitat Conservation Plan (SEP-HCP). The intent of the application is to mitigate the impact of their activities—the “take” of endangered species—onto the surrounding counties of Medina, Bandera, Kerr, Kendall and Blanco.
According to the Commissioners, the impact to species referred to in the draft is occurring in Bexar County where they have failed to adequately reserve appropriate mitigation land to offset those impacts. As a result they have applied to the Service for an ITP and are preparing a “Regional” habitat conservation plan through which they will control the activities to be approved under the permit, in seven counties.
The commissioners agree that the applicants are unduly placing the burden of providing habitat for their activities onto neighboring counties, therefore transferring the direct impact onto these landowners and restricting the revenue the five counties depend on to provide county services.
This proposal, if adopted, would, for example, regulate and restrict the cutting of cedar trees in the five-county area in order to protect the habitat of a certain bird species. In essence, the Blanco County Commissioners feel that it is incumbent on Bexar County to mitigate its own expansion and growth activities.
Blanco Commissioners join with others in surrounding counties urging that the application for an Incidental Take Permit covering the activities associated with the SEP-HCP should be denied by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service because:
1) the applicants do not have legal jurisdiction over the seven-county area for which the permit covers, 2) the five counties of Medina, Bandera, Kerr, Kendall and Blanco have not given their consent to participate in the plan, 3) the five counties have not made an application to the Service for an ITP, and 4) the five counties have given legal notice of their objection to inclusion in the permit application, permit area and conservation plan.
Commissioners were unanimous in their vote to remove Blanco County from the Southern Edwards Plateau Habitat Conservation Plan.
In other business, Commissioners voted to continue with an 8.47% contribution to the Texas County & District Retirement System plan for 2012.
Adelle Moreland was unanimously appointed to the Blanco County Child Welfare and Family Advocacy Board.
Justice of the Peace Terry Carter of Precinct One was given authorization to expend $1,500 from Technology funds in order to purchase shelves for the JP file system. The system provides backup to the new NetData files. With the intent of getting the most bang for the buck, Judge Carter said, “We’ll shop for the shelves.”