INTERLOCAL COOPERATION AGREEMENT
BETWEEN WILLIAMSON COUNTY AND
THE WILLIAMSONCOUNTY CONSERVATION FOUNDATION
THE STATE OF TEXAS §
COUNTY OF WILLIAMSON §
This Interlocal Agreement (the “Agreement”) is entered into as of this _______ day of , 2008, by and between Williamson County, a political subdivision of the state of Texas (the “County”) and the Williamson County Conservation Foundation, a 501(c)(3) Texas non-profit corporation (the “Foundation”) (collectively, the “Parties”).
WHEREAS, Williamson County, Texas encompasses habitat occupied by three karst invertebrates and two bird species that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the “Service”) has listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (the “Act”). The County also contains habitat for other rare species, including at least four species of salamanders and other karst invertebrate species that may be in need of conservation efforts to preclude the need for future listing; and
WHEREAS, presence of endangered species habitat has significantly affected the public and private development within Williamson County; and
WHEREAS, the County and the Service have recently approved a Regional Habitat Conservation Plan (the “RHCP”) that will support an incidental take permit (the “Permit”) allowing limited impacts to four of the listed species, provided certain conservation and management conditions are satisfied; and
WHEREAS, the administrative agency that will manage the RHCP will be the Foundation; and
WHEREAS, the Foundation and the County, by this Agreement, wish to delineate the duties and responsibilities of the Foundation and the County with respect to the management and administration of the RHCP;
NOW THEREFORE, the COUNTY AND THE FOUNDATION hereby agree to the following terms and conditions.
PURPOSE OF AGREEMENT AND GOALS OF RHCP.
A. Purpose of Agreement
The Interlocal Cooperation Agreement (the “Agreement”) is entered into pursuant to the Interlocal Cooperation Act, Tex. Government Code, Chapter 791 to allow the Foundation to manage and administer the RHCP pursuant to the terms and conditions stated herein.
B. RHCP Goals
The goals of the locally approved RHCP are as follows:
to ensure protection of the habitat of the species of concern in Williamson County by acquiring and setting aside lands to preserve the best remaining habitat,
to manage the habitat preserve system so as to continue to support viable populations of the species of concern,
to obtain and hold a permit under Section 10(a) of the Act,
to provide adequate revenue to ensure the goals of the RHCP are met,
to provide a mechanism for public and private entities to proceed with capital improvements and projects in compliance with the Act.
MANAGEMENT OF RHCP
A. RHCP Program Administration
The County, through the adoption of the RHCP, is now committed to the long-term avoidance, minimization and mitigation of RHCP impacts. Many elements of the RHCP will require consistent and thorough administrative procedures and assurances that the RHCP will be sufficiently funded and staffed to administer the RHCP in all aspects of the commitments detailed in the RHCP documents. Program implementation includes not just a 30-year commitment over the life of the Permit, but a commitment to manage the endangered species preserves in perpetuity.
B. Foundation Responsibility
Pursuant to Section 5.2 of the RHCP, the Management of the RHCP will be the responsibility of the County through the Foundation with advisement and consent of the Service. As such, by signing this agreement, the County hereby designates the Foundation as the Management entity for RHCP. The duties listed in Section 5.2 are in part, as follows:
Administer RHCP budget and finances, including development of annual operating/financial plan.
Facilitate entering into formal agreements (Participation Agreements) with the plan participants to ensure compliance with RHCP permit conditions.
Identify and assist in the acquisition of land for new preserves for the County and for enhancement of existing conservation preserves in accordance with the RHCP.
Prepare management monitoring plans for preserves.
Establish and manage mitigation programs.
Maintain an active and functional Adaptive Management System and implement new management actions.
Report to the Service on a timely basis on the acquisition and management of preserve levels, development approvals and participant involvement.
Administer a research program, including creation and maintenance of computerized database to manage information gathered through research and monitoring programs.
Report to the County on a quarterly basis of all Foundation activities and submit on an annual basis a proposed budget, which must be approved by the County.
The Service has issued a section 10(a)(1)(B) incidental take permit to Williamson County through the RHCP. As the permit holder, the County acknowledges the ultimate responsibility for achieving all of the goals listed on the RHCP. To accomplish these goals, the County will ensure that the Foundation will hire plan administrators and appropriate staff and ensure that these positions will be funded and equipped to a level that is sufficient to meet plan needs. The County, through the Foundation, may outsource biological and other science-related services and legal and technical assistance for plan administration on an as-needed basis.
A. Eligibility Standards
Any party within Williamson County desiring to undertake activities included within the RHCP may be eligible for participation.
All participation is voluntary. Those choosing not to participate can either seek individual permits from the Service or develop independent strategies for compliance that may or may not adhere to RHCP methodologies.
While participation in the RHCP is encouraged, the County, through the Foundation, reserves the right to decline participation in the RHCP when that participation, in the judgment of the County and the Foundation, would not be consistent with the goals and objectives of the Plan, or might cause there to be insufficient mitigation available for anticipated County infrastructure needs.
The procedures for participation within the RHCP are outlined in Section 6.2 of the RHCP and as described below:
All applications to participate in the RHCP shall be submitted to the Foundation, along with an application fee.
The Foundation, either on its own action, or through its designee(s), will issue a “Determination Letter” that describes the amount of the authorized take, the applicant’s cost of participation in the RHCP and the period of time within which the RHCP will remain effective. The “Determination Letter” will be forwarded to the County with a recommendation for approval.
Applicants who elect to participate in the RHCP will enter into an approved Participation Agreement with the County. Each Participation Agreement shall have the Service as a third-party beneficiary with the right to enforce all terms of the Agreement.
After approval of the County, and acceptance by the applicant, the Foundation or its designee will issue a Participation Agreement to the applicant (henceforward, the “Participant”).
All land acquisitions by the Foundation shall be approved by the County prior to acquisition.
ACCOUNTING BOOKS: Complete books and accounts shall be maintained by the County on behalf of the Board in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and standards, including compliance with all applicable statutes and regulations. Financial Activities of the Conservation Foundation will be audited annually, using generally accepted auditing standards, by an independent Certified Public Accountant approved by the County in conjunction with the County’s annual audit. The audit shall cover the financial activity of the Conservation Foundation for the immediately previous fiscal year which runs from October 1 to September 30.
MONETARY TRANSACTIONS: All monetary transactions will be processed through the Williamson County Auditor’s Office and transacted or held in account by the Williamson County Treasurer.
TERM AND TERMINATION
The term of this Agreement shall commence upon the last party’s execution hereof and shall continue thereafter in full force and effect until terminated by either party in accordance with the terms hereof.
Termination for Convenience
Either party may terminate this Agreement for convenience and without cause or further liability upon one hundred eighty (180) calendar day’s written notice to the other party. No penalty will be assessed for either party’s termination of this Agreement for convenience pursuant to this provision.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the Parties hereto have caused this instrument to be signed, sealed and attested in duplicate by their duly authorized officers, as of the Effective Date.
By: _________________________________ Date:
Honorable Dan A. Gattis, County Judge
WILLIAMSON COUNTY CONSERVATION FOUNDATION
By: ________________________________ Date:
Lisa Birkman, President, WCCF