Safe Harbor Agreement

A Safe Harbor Agreement (SHA) is a voluntary agreement between private landowners and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to recover endangered species and protect private property rights. Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) administers a programmatic SHA in Texas for the Houston toad. 

Once enrolled in a SHA, landowners receive assurances that there will not be future property use limitations without their consent, and permits for incidental take resulting from land uses agreed to in the agreement. Upon expiration of the agreement, the landowner may return the land to the baseline conditions that existed prior to the agreement. If there were no toads at the start, this would mean a landowner could return to not having toads. 

The SHA is a good option for farmers, ranchers, or any other commercial operations in the range of the Houston toad.

Becoming enrolled in the SHA is a  four-step process and can take up to one year. To enroll:

  1. Contact TPWD at (512) 389-8722 to arrange an initial site visit.
  2. If enrollment is beneficial and desired, TPWD/ARC will conduct a baseline assessment for Houston toad presence using automated recorders from January to May. There will also be a habitat assessment conducted to document conditions at the start of the agreement.
  3. After assessments, the landowner and TPWD/ARC will work together on a management plan.
  4. The landowner signs the management plan to activate enrollment in the SHA.

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