Travis County administers the public participation program on behalf of the BCCP Coordinating Committee. In this role, the County works with landowners and developers planning to develop land in endangered species habitat to mitigate “take” through participation in the BCCP. “Take” is defined by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as “to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect any threatened or endangered species. Harm may include significant habitat modification where it actually kills or injures a listed species through impairment of essential behavior (e.g., nesting or reproduction)”.

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The County processes applications for residential and commercial development, consults with the USFWS on actions taken by the Service, provides mitigation fee zone information, accepts mitigation fees, and issues Participation Certificates. For a copy of the County's Public Participation Process brochure you may download it here: BCCP Public Participation Process (384 KB PDF file).

The City of Austin manages the infrastructure mitigation program on behalf of the BCCP Coordinating Committee. This process allows for construction of public schools, roadways, utilities, and other capital improvement projects throughout the permit area.

Applications

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BCCP Participation Certificate applications are processed free of charge, and are typically completed within 15 business days. You may download a Participation Application (pdf) from this web site or pick up an application in person from the Travis County’s Natural Resources Program office located on the 5th floor at 700 Lavaca in Austin Texas. Regular Business hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:00 pm.

There is no application fee and submission of an application does not obligate the applicant to participate through the BCCP. Landowners always have the opportunity to consult with USFWS to address mitigation concerns.

Once a completed application is received, Travis County staff determines the cost to participate based on the mitigation fee zone maps approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Mitigation fee zone determinations are rounded to the nearest tenth of an acre, and assessments will be based on the amount of mitigation fee zone acreage within the entire legal tax parcel(s). Any deviation from this process may require Travis County staff to consult with USFWS and/or the BCCP Coordinating Committee, which may extend the turnaround time for processing an application.

Participation Fee Schedule

The BCCP Coordinating Committee, the permit holders and the USFWS have approved annual Citizens Advisory Committee recommendations regarding the Participation Certificate mitigation fee structure since 1998. The current fees were approved by the Travis County Commissioners Court effective September 20, 2011. On May 31, 2012, the BCCP Coordinating Committee implemented the recommendation of the Citizens Advisory Committee to continue the current fee structure indefinitely.

  • GCWA (zone 1) = $5,500 / acre
  • GCWA (zone 2) = $2,750 / acre
  • BCVI zone = $5,500 / acre
  • Karst zone = $1,000 / acre

The Citizens Advisory Committee will consider the current fee structure and make recommendations to the BCCP Coordinating Committee as needed.

Other Options for Landowner Participation

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The Permit holders and the USFWS have provided a range of options available to landowners as they seek to mitigate for proposed development. Special Provisions Certificates are available for landowners with lands meeting certain legal tests. Examples of these Special Provisions include the single family residential lot provision. This provision applies to landowners wishing to construct one single-family home on a lot which was legally recorded on or before May 04, 1990, which will result in an area of disturbance of no more than 0.75 acres (approximately 32,670 square feet). Other Special Provisions such as an Agricultural Provision covering ongoing ranching and farming operations are also available.

A “Land in Lieu of Fee” provision allows landowners to donate suitable lands to the BCCP as an alternative to making a mitigation payment. Conservation Easements may also be negotiated to fulfill a landowner’s mitigation needs. Lands managed under these provisions are credited to the BCP as a portion of the required 30,428 protected acres required by the regional permit. These alternative mitigation options have been supported by landowners, developers, and the Citizens Advisory Committee.

Participation Contract

Applicants who decide to participate will be required to sign a participation contract. The contract, entered into between the participant and the Balcones Canyonlands Coordinating Committee, will be recorded in Travis County's real property records. Participation Certificates run with the land similar to an easement.

Participant's Commitment

After the participation contract is signed and a Participation Certificate is issued, the participant is free to begin clearing for construction. However, clearing is subject to the terms and conditions of the participation contract and may not be conducted from March 1 through August 31 on tracts containing golden-cheeked warbler and/or black-capped vireo habitat.

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Additionally, if and when construction activity uncovers new caves or significant karst features, such work must cease and the local US Fish and Wildlife Ecological Services office should be notified to check the cave for endangered species. Land owners may get assistance from karst geological or biological consultants to assist in expediting the USFWS clearance for construction to resume.

The Participation Certificate must be posted at the construction site from the time clearing begins until construction is completed.

For more information about participation in the BCCP, please contact us.

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Contact Us

PO Box 1748
700 Lavaca street, Suite 540
Austin, Texas 78767
Phone: (512) 854-9437

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