Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Those unintentional, incidental species takings; incidental for what?

When I see these official DNR notices like this one about permitting a so-called "incidental taking" of a rare, endangered lizard- - 
Slender Glass Lizard photo.
- - or this earlier notice of an allowed taking of Monarch butterfly habitat, I always think that for the living things 'taken,' I'll bet it was anything but incidental - - even if the state says the taking isn't going to be intentional.

I know, I know, the rules say the taking can be taken if the taking doesn't threaten the species, but take a moment and think about it being called incidental when it comes after all the analysis.

You can make you own mind. Here's the statement, in full:
Incidental take notice for Columbia County
By Central Office July 11, 2018
Contact(s): Stacy Rowe, 608-266-7012
MADISON - The extension of a gas main along State Highway 23 in Columbia County may result in the "incidental taking" of a rare lizard under a permit the Department of Natural Resources proposes to issue for the project. 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.
Alliant Energy's project involves the extension of gas main pipe north of Wisconsin Dells. The gas main consists of approximately 23,000 feet of 2- and 4-inch plastic gas main. Construction timing is expected to be three months beginning August 1, 2018. The area subject to this incidental take permit consists of approximately 2,990 feet along the south side of Highway 23 going east from Business Park Road. The pipe will be installed using a combination of vibratory plowing, boring and directional drilling techniques. The project includes an estimate of 20 4-foot by 6-foot bore pits to get the gas main under roads, driveways or other obstacles. A maximum of 3.31 acres could be impacted along the entire project route; however, the total soil disturbance is expected to be significantly less due to existing sandy soils, size of pipe and installation techniques.
The presence of the state endangered slender glass lizard (Ophisaurus attenuatus) has been confirmed in the vicinity of the project site. The gas main will be installed during the an active season for the lizard, and DNR staff determined that the proposed project may result in the incidental taking of some lizards.
Department staff concluded that the proposed project is not likely to appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival or recovery of the species within the state, the whole plant-animal community of which it is a part or the habitat that is critical to its existence.
The conservation measures to minimize the adverse effect on the endangered species will be incorporated into the proposed Incidental Take Permit. Copies of the jeopardy assessment and background information on the slender glass lizard 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). The department is requesting comments from the public through August 10, 2018 regarding project-related impacts to the slender glass lizard. Public comments should be sent to Stacy Rowe, Wisconsin DNR, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921 or stacy.rowe@wi.gov.

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