Rebecca Barho focuses her practice on natural resource law, with particular emphasis on the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA).
Ms. Barho has worked on a wide range of matters throughout the Southwestern United States. She has been heavily involved in preparation and negotiation of numerous habitat conservation plans under the ESA and represents a wide variety of clients, including local governments, utilities, real estate developers, and renewable energy companies.
She has worked with the American Wind Energy Association on two multi-state, multispecies habitat conservation plans: the Great Plains HCP and the Midwest Wind HCP, as well as with several counties to develop and gain approval of county-wide habitat conservation plans. She has assisted local governments and private entities on issues related to the impending listing of several species of central Texas salamanders, and has been heavily involved in the negotiation of several listed species conservation banks in Texas. Ms. Barho has worked with various governmental entities in navigating the ESA permitting process – under both Section 7 and Section 10 – for major, and sometimes controversial, infrastructure projects.
Additionally, Ms. Barho works to assist clients with respect to various state and local environmental approvals, including, for example, compliance with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code and Texas Administrative Code, as well as administrative proceedings and litigation involving federal and state environmental law. Finally, Ms. Barho has assisted with preparation for cases before federal district courts and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Texas Department of Transportation. Ms. Barho serves as outside environmental counsel to the Texas Department of Transportation, assisting the Department in compliance with the ESA, NEPA and other issues related to its infrastructure program.
- Williamson County Road and Highway Work. For a number of years, Ms. Barho has served as outside environmental counsel to Williamson County, Texas. This has involved over $500 million in critically needed roads and highway, many of which suffered complex environmental issues, including particularly under the ESA. A number of these projects were jointly pursed with TxDOT. Examples of Williamson County projects on which Ms. Barho worked include:
- IH 35 Improvements at Inner Space Caverns. Provided advice regarding ESA compliance in connection with this critical highway improvement project. The project is currently under construction.
- Regan Boulevard. Provided advice regarding all phases of environmental review for this multi-phase project involving a major arterial in Williamson County.
- SH 195 Improvements. Provided advice regarding the complicated ESA compliance required for needed improvements to this roadway, which provides critical access to the Fort Hood military reservation.
- O'Connor Boulevard. Provided advice regarding all environmental reviews for this short but very significant arterial. Work included assisting the client with complicated endangered species issues.
- Hays County Road and Highway Projects. For a number of years, Ms. Barho has served as outside environmental counsel on specific Hays County road and highway projects. Following are two examples:
- SH 1626. Represented Hays County in obtaining ESA approvals for this much-needed highway improvement project.
- Winters Parkway (aka Wimberley Bypass). Obtained ESA approval through Section 7 consultation.