MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources proposes to create and revise several Broad Incidental Take Permits/Authorizations (BITPs/As) for activities commonly occurring across that state that may result in the “incidental taking” of rare species. Incidental take refers to the unintentional loss of individual endangered or threatened animals or plants that does not put the overall population of the species at risk.

An Incidental Take Permit/Authorization is typically issued on a project-by-project basis. A Broad Incidental Take Permit/Authorization is used for projects that occur routinely on the landscape and have identical conservation measures. The department is proposing two new BITPs/As. One would cover transportation projects with the potential to impact the state-endangered Blanchard’s cricket frog, (Acris blanchardi). The second would cover projects impacting water bodies where state listed mussels occur. Both protocols include conservation measures to minimize impacts to the rare species.

The department is also planning edits to five existing BITPs/As: stream crossings (fords) and Blanchard’s cricket frog stream crossings (fords) and state listed fish; cave bats; vibratory plowing and ornate box turtles (Terrapene ornata); and vibratory plowing and slender glass lizards (Ophisaurus attenuatus). These five revised BITPs/As also include conservation measures to minimize impacts to the rare species.

The disturbances caused by these projects may result in some mortality; however, take will be minimized by following protocols designed for the species. Department staff concluded that the projects covered under these permits and authorizations would: minimize impacts to the species by adhering to conservation measures; are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence or appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival and/or recovery of the state population of the species or the whole plant-animal community of which they are a part and the habitat that is critical to their existence; and has benefit to the public health, safety or welfare that justifies the action.

The conservation measures to minimize adverse effects on the endangered and threatened species will be incorporated into the proposed Broad Incidental Take Permits/Authorizations. Copies of the jeopardy assessment and background information on the species are available by searching the DNR website for incidental take public notice or upon request from Stacy Rowe (608-266-7012 or stacy.rowe@wi.gov) or Rori Paloski (608-264-6040 or rori.paloski@wi.gov). The department is requesting comments from the public through Jan. 20, 2020, regarding project-related impacts to the covered endangered and threatened species. Public comments should be sent to Stacy Rowe or Rori Paloski, Wisconsin DNR, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921 or rori.paloski@wi.gov.