MADISON — The Badger Coulee Transmission Line Project (Segments 5-8) may result in the “incidental taking” of a rare lizard and 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 Badger Coulee 345 kV Transmission Line Project is a new 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 (SMMPA Wisconsin), and WPPI Energy. ATC will be the Project’s construction manager, acting on behalf of itself and its co-owners.
The project is a new, predominantly single-circuit 345 kilovolt (kV) transmission line between northern La Crosse County and northern Dane County. In the La Crosse area, the line will connect to the Briggs Road Substation in the town of Onalaska. In Dane County, the line will connect to the North Madison Substation in the Town of Vienna and continue to its termination at the Cardinal Substation in the Town of Middleton. The 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 only covers Segments 5-8 of the Badger Coulee Transmission Line
The presence of the state endangered slender glass lizard (Ophisaurus attenuatus) and state endangered/federally threatened 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 lizards and snakes.
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 Authorization. Copies of the jeopardy assessment and background information on the slender glass lizard and 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 Jan. 13, 2017. Public comments should be sent to Rori Paloski, Wisconsin DNR, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921or email@example.com.