MADISON — The Van Loon Wildlife Area Ford and Trail Construction Project may result in the “incidental taking” of a rare snake under an authorization 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.
The Department of Natural Resources plans to construct a stream ford to allow maintenance equipment to cross a channel and lower an 1100 foot segment of the road between two bridges by approximately 4 feet in order to restore floodplain hydrology and simultaneously reduce pressure on and maintenance of historic bridges.
The presence of the state endangered eastern massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus) has been confirmed in the vicinity of the project site. DNR staff determined that the proposed project may result in the incidental taking of some snakes.
DNR staff concluded that the proposed project will minimize the impacts to the species by adhering to conservation measures; is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence and recovery of the state population of the species or the whole plant-animal community of which it is a part; and has benefit to the public health, safety or welfare that justifies the action.
The conservation measures to minimize the adverse effect on the endangered species will be incorporated into the proposed Incidental Take Authorization. Copies of the jeopardy assessment and background information on the eastern massasauga are available by searching the DNR website for incidental take public notice or upon request from Rori Paloski (608-264-6040 or firstname.lastname@example.org). The department is requesting comments from the public through August 30, 2016. Public comments should be sent to Rori Paloski, Wisconsin DNR, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921or email@example.com.