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June 14, 2011

[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 incidental taking of endangered and threatened species that may occur in grassland and savanna areas of Wisconsin would be authorized during specific management activities intended to preserve and enhance that habitat, under a Broad Incidental Take Permit and Authorization the Department of Natural Resources is proposing for such activities. 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.

A Broad Incidental Take Authorization for Grassland and Savanna Management was initially approved in 2000, and minor changes are now being proposed for this document. Additionally a Broad Incidental Take Permit is also proposed to allow DNR staff, as well as other agencies, organizations and individuals, to conduct management activities to benefit grassland and savanna species.

A variety of grassland habitats are included in the permit and authorization, including prairies, sedge meadows, shrub-wetlands, fens, brush prairies, sand barrens, bracken grasslands, and sphagnum bogs. Also included are pastures and fields dominated by non-native grasses and forbs with or without shrubby invasion, and plantings of native grasses and forbs. Savannas include oak and pine barrens, glades, oak openings, and open oak woodlands.

These grassland and savanna habitats and the species that inhabit them are dependent upon management to set back natural succession. These activities include prescribed burning, mowing and haying, selective tree or brush cutting and harvesting, herbicide application, and grazing.

The disturbance caused by these management activities may result in some mortality of individual plants or animals that are listed as endangered or threatened species. To minimize any incidental taking of rare species, DNR staff designed specific protocols for each endangered or threatened species found in these habitats.

DNR staff concluded that by adhering to these management protocols and conservation measures: grassland and savanna management activities would minimize impacts to the species; would not likely jeopardize the continued existence and recovery of the state population of these 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.

Additional information regarding the proposed Broad Incidental Take Permit and Authorization for Grassland and Savanna Management, including a list of species covered and conservation measures to minimize take are available on the DNR website or upon request from Madeline Emde, DNR Bureau of Endangered Resources, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707,, 608-266-7012. Public comments will be taken through July 15, 2011 and should be sent to Madeline Emde at the above address.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Madeline Emde, DNR, Bureau of Endangered Resources, 608-266-7012 or P.O. Box 7921 Madison, WI 53707-7921.

Last Revised: Tuesday, June 14, 2011

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