MADISON — The construction of the Badger Coulee Transmission Line (Segments 1-4) may result in the “incidental taking” of a rare snake and lizard 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 Badger Coulee 345 kV Transmission Line Project is a proposed transmission line between northern La Crosse County and northern Dane County. The Project is jointly owned by American Transmission Company; Dairyland Power Cooperative; Northern States Power Company, a Wisconsin corporation; SMMPA Wisconsin, LLC, and WPPI Energy. The entire project consists of eight construction segments (Segments 1 through 8) and also extends through Columbia, Sauk, Juneau, Monroe, Jackson, and Trempealeau counties for a total length of approximately 187 miles.
This proposed Incidental Take Authorization covers Segments 1-4 of the Badger Coulee Transmission Line and is an amendment to a previously approved authorization for Segments 1-4 of the Badger Coulee Transmission Line. This amendment adds the eastern massasauga – this species was re-discovered in the area after the previous authorization was issued. This amendment also slightly updates the area of suitable habitat for the slender glass lizard from what was included in the original authorization.
The presence of the state endangered eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus) and the state endangered slender glass lizard (Ophisaurus attenuatus)] 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 snakes and lizards.
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 species will be incorporated into the proposed Incidental Take Authorization. Copies of the jeopardy assessment and background information on the eastern massasauga and slender glass lizard 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 July 19. Public comments should be sent to Rori Paloski, WDNR, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921or email@example.com.