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October 12, 2010

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Wisconsin's endangered species law (s. 29.604, Wis. Stats.) requires the Department of Natural Resources to notify the public when it proposes to authorize the incidental taking of a state endangered or threatened species.]

MADISON -- The reconstruction of a county highway in the Village of Menomonee Falls, Waukesha County, may result in the incidental taking of the state threatened Butler's gartersnake under an authorization the Department of Natural Resources proposes to grant 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.

Waukesha County proposes to expand County Trunk Highway VV (Silver Spring Road) from a two-lane rural to four-lane divided urban roadway from Marcy Road to Bette Drive in the Village of Menomonee Falls. Highway VV is an old narrow roadway in need of improvements to increase driver safety and accommodate increased traffic.

The roadway expansion includes suitable habitat for Butler's gartersnake (Thamnophis butleri) along a wetland patch on the north side of the road near the Marcy Road intersection. Wetland impacts were minimized during design by avoiding suitable habitat when possible and minimizing pavement and shoulder widths to the maximum extent possible. Wetlands in the site will be mitigated on a one-to-one basis in concurrence with an existing conservation easement. Ecological passage mitigation will be required as part of the next segment of construction to provide better connectivity to the Fox River habitat corridor at the CTH VV and CTH Y crossing. Snake fencing will be installed prior to the start of construction in areas of suitable habitat.

The department has determined that the proposed project will minimize the impacts to the snake; is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence and recovery of the state population of the snake 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 actions.

The conservation measures to minimize adverse effects on the threatened species will be incorporated into the proposed Incidental Take Authorization. Copies of the jeopardy assessment, conservation plan, and background information on the Butler's gartersnake are available on the Incidental Take page of the DNR website or upon request from Rori Paloski, Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Endangered Resources, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707, 608-264-6040. Public comments will be taken through Nov. 9, 2010 and should be sent to Rori Paloski at the above address.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Rori Paloski, DNR, Bureau of Endangered Resources (608) 264-6040

Last Revised: Tuesday, October 12, 2010

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