Contact(s): Stacy Rowe, conservation biologist, 608-266-7012
MADISON -- The replacement of a bridge on State Highway 78 in Lafayette County may result in the "incidental taking" of a rare frog 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 Wisconsin Department of Transportation is proposing to replace the State Highway 78 bridge crossing the Pecatonica River. Proposed improvements include removing and replacing the bridge deck. Guardrail at all corners of the bridge will be removed and replaced, which requires grading on the existing slopes. Fifty feet of existing asphalt on both approaches of the structure will be milled and overlaid with new hot mix asphalt to blend into the new bridge deck. Existing asphalt shoulders will be removed and replaced to accommodate the new guardrail installations.
The presence of the state endangered Blanchard's cricket frog (Acris blanchardi) 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 frogs.
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 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 effects on the endangered species will be incorporated into the proposed Incidental Take Authorization. Copies of the jeopardy assessment and background information on the Blanchard's cricket frog are available by searching the DNR website for incidental take public notice or upon request from Stacy Rowe (608-266-7012 firstname.lastname@example.org). The department is requesting comments from the public through August 8, 2019 regarding project-related impacts to the Blanchard's cricket frog. Public comments should be sent to Stacy Rowe, Wisconsin DNR, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921 or email@example.com.