Incidental take notice for Racine County and Kenosha County

MADISON – A project to reconstruct the I-94 and State Highway 11 Interchange may result in the “incidental taking” of two rare plants under an authorization the Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin Department of Transportation is planning on reconstructing mainline I-94 in Kenosha and Racine Counties from the north end of the State Highway 142 interchange (Kenosha County) to the south end of the State Highway 20 interchange (Racine County), a distance of approximately 6.5 miles. The project includes reconstructing the State Highway 11 interchange mainline and ramps (Project I.D. 1030-24-72) and the State Highway 20 Crossroad (Project I.D. 1030-24-71). The area to be disturbed under Project I.D. 1030-24-72 is 29 acres and under Project I.D. 1030-24-71 is 9 acres for a total area to be disturbed of 38 acres.

The presence of the state threatened prairie milkweed (Asclepias sullivantii) and state endangered purple milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens) have been confirmed in the vicinity of the project site. DNR staff determined that the proposed project may result in the incidental taking of some plants.

Department 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 they are 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 and threatened species will be incorporated into the proposed Incidental Take Authorization. Copies of the jeopardy assessment and background information on the prairie milkweed and purple milkweed 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 March 29, 2018 regarding project-related impacts to the prairie milkweed and purple milkweed. Public comments should be sent to Stacy Rowe, Wisconsin DNR, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921 or stacy.rowe@wi.gov.