Contact(s): Stacy Rowe, Conservation Biologist, 608-266-7012, firstname.lastname@example.org
February 20, 2020
MADISON, Wis. - A pipeline replacement project in Sheboygan County may result in the "incidental taking" of a rare 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.
Wisconsin Public Service (WPS), a subsidiary of WEC Energy Group, is proposing to replace an existing 8-inch diameter steel pipeline between Plymouth and Chilton in Calumet, Manitowoc and Sheboygan counties. The project is referred to as the Plymouth to Chilton Main Replacement Project.
Land cover in the impacted area is comprised of shrub-carr wetland dominated by reed canary grass, cattails and green ash. Within the area of suitable habitat for the eastern ribbon snake, the pipeline replacement will be accomplished via directional bore with bore pits located outside of the suitable habitat; a 10-foot-wide corridor will be cleared of vegetation over the pipeline segment for future maintenance. The clearing will total approximately 4,300 square feet (0.10 acres) and will be accomplished using low-pressure mechanical clearing equipment (skid steer, brush hog).
A portion of the Project on Segment 6B is located within suitable habitat for the eastern ribbonsnake, and impacts are unavoidable. The presence of the state endangered eastern ribbonsnake (Thamnophis sauritus) 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 snakes.
Department staff concluded that the proposed project would 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 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 ribbonsnake are available by searching the DNR website for incidental take public notice or upon request from Stacy Rowe (608-266-7012 or email@example.com).
The DNR is requesting comments from the public through March 19, 2020, regarding project-related impacts to the eastern ribbonsnake. Public comments should be sent to Stacy Rowe, DNR, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921 or firstname.lastname@example.org.