The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army have completed formal consultation regarding the potential effects that Fort Huachuca’s operations will have on threatened and endangered species. In a biological opinion, or BO, signed March 31, the Service concluded that the Army’s ongoing and planned operations are not likely to jeopardize the continued survival or recovery of any threatened, endangered or proposed species or result in adverse modification of existing or proposed critical habitat, on-post or in the nearby San Pedro and Babocomari rivers.
“The Fort continues its superb job of furthering endangered species conservation — continuing to be a crucial partner in species recovery,” said Steve Spangle, the Service’s Arizona field supervisor. “Even as we finish this consultation, the Fort is completing additional water management conservation easements to protect San Pedro and Babocomari river flows and riparian habitat.”
The consultation evaluated how the Fort’s 10-year plan for land use, training activities, construction activities, administration and support actions, recreation, fire management and other activities would affect several species of animals and plants to include: the endangered Huachuca water umbel (a semi aquatic plant), jaguar, lesser long-nosed bat, ocelot, Sonora tiger salamander, Mexican spotted owl, Chiricahua leopard frog, southwestern willow flycatcher, Gila topminnow, desert pupfish, Gila chub, spikedace, loach minnow, Canelo Hill’s ladies’ tresses, northern Mexican gartersnake and yellow-billed cuckoo.
Both Fort Huachuca and the Service again relied on the increased scientific understanding generated through participation in the Upper San Pedro Partnership’s technical committee and, in particular, on the rigorous scientific studies by the Partnership.
The BO reflects the Fort’s activities and conservation measures to safeguard federally-listed species and their designated critical habitat, in compliance with the Endangered Species Act.
“This biological opinion, which is the result of a lot of hard work and cooperation between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army, gives us the flexibility to support current military and national security missions and the ability to support future missions while ensuring we continue to meet all requirements of the Endangered Species Act. Fort Huachuca has been sustaining the land it defends since 1877 and continues to be a leader in environmental stewardship in southeastern Arizona, the Army and the Department of Defense. We are committed to continuing our water conservation and mitigation efforts,” said Col. Dan McFarland, U.S. Army Fort Huachuca garrison commander.
The final Biological Opinion is posted at: http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/arizona/.