by Ron Outen, Regional Director, The Aransas Project
On the evening of October 24, TAP attended a second public presentation by USFWS on the new distance sampling methodology being used at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Refuge Biologist Brad Strobel again presented his Powerpoint presentation for a small audience. TAP captured the presentation on video presentation on video, and has also posted the PowerPoint presentation to the TAP website Note that this PowerPoint is from the Oct. 4, 2012 presentation, but the content is essentially the same one used at the Oct. 24, 2012 presentation (minor changes included new slides with staff bios, current conditions).
At the meeting, Strobel reported that USFWS is currently planning to conduct additional flights this season beyond the three flights conducted last season, as well as potentially making additional adjustments in the protocol such as flying narrower transects than the current transect of 1,000 meters.
Refuge staff reported on the current conditions on the winter range, which has been posted to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge website in the first Whooping Crane Update of the season.
TAP Files Response to Defendants’ Motion to Reopen Case
Shortly following the issuance of the “Aransas-Wood Buffalo Whooping Crane Abundance Survey (2011-2012)” by USFWS on October 3, the defendants in TAP’s lawsuit under the federal Endangered Species Act filed a motion seeking to reopen the record in the case (9 months after the trial of the case) to introduce the Abundance Survey into the record.
Last week, TAP filed its Plaintiff’s Response to Defendants’ Motion to Reopen Case opposing the motion of the defendants’ to reopen the case. TAP has posted its response to the TAP website for the benefit of TAP’s members and members of the public seeking to remain informed about the case.