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if you should join the Habitat Conservation Plan Partnership.
resources and information for current HCP Partners.
about the Wisconsin Karner blue butterfly recovery program.
to help the Karner blue butterfly through surveys or landowner partnerships.
Karner blue butterfly

Karner blue butterfly (photo by Steve Apps)

Contact information
For more information, contact:
Becky Roth
Karner Habitat Conservation Plan Coordinator

Partner Guidance

Karner blue butterfly logo

The Karner Blue Butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis) is a Federally Endangered and Wisconsin Special Concern Species. The Karner Blue Butterfly High Potential Range (HPR) was developed through a model to identify areas where the Karner Blue Butterfly has the highest probability of occurence.

An ER Review will tell you if your project is within the HPR, and what your next steps are. To determine if your project needs an ER Review, visit our ER Review webpage.

What is the Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP)?

Habitat Conservation Plan Overview Wisconsin’s Karner Blue Butterfly Habitat Conservation Plan is the document that accompanies the incidental take permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the DNR. The permit and the plan are designed to protect and conserve Karner blues while allowing activities to occur that could impact Karner blues or their habitat. The first 10-year plan was approved in 1999 and the second 10-year plan was approved in 2009.

HCP Partnership

The HCP currently has over 50 partners across the state. HCP partners agree to follow specific protocols to avoid and minimize impacts to Karners during the course of their work. In return, the HCP extends permit coverage allowing them to conduct activities that may inadvertently "take" (harass, harm or kill) the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly. The level of take under Wisconsin’s HCP does not threaten the long-term survival and recovery of Karners in the state. The long-term viability of Karner blue butterfly populations depends on habitat disturbance. Without periodic disturbance, natural woody succession shades out wild lupine and nectar plants and can passively eliminate Karner blue butterfly populations. Fortunately, many HCP partner and management activities provide the necessary habitat disturbances to maintain Karner habitat on the landscape. Although HCP partner management activities may result in some Karner mortality, the absence of short-term disturbance would result in greater long-term losses of Karners and their habitat.

Habitat Conservation Plan Document


Determine which partnership level is recommended

If your ER Review reveals that your project or activity is likely to result in take of Karners or their habitat, you can apply for incidental take coverage under the DNR’s Karner incidental take (IT) permit. Companies and groups who receive coverage under the DNR IT permit issued to them by the US Fish and Wildlife Service are considered Habitat Conservation Plan Partners. Use the following guide to determine if you should apply for coverage, and what level of coverage you might need.

  1. Does your project or activity involve:
    • A: Right-of-way or corridor development or maintenance?
    • B: Forestry on more than 1,000 acres?
    • C: Permanent take of Karner blue habitat? Note: Permanent take activities include but are not limited to construction of roadways, parking lots, buildings, residential subdivisions and condominiums, or other developments that preclude Karner blue butterfly occupation for a minimum of five years. Construction of homes and associated structures used by the owner are exempted.

      If no, you are automatically covered and may participate in Karner blue conservation voluntarily through the “Volunteer category”. Check with the HCP coordinator if you are unsure of how the plan defines your activity.

      If yes to A, B or C, you must apply for incidental take permit coverage. Failure to do so may result in a violation of the U.S. Endangered Species Act. To learn more about receiving incidental take permit coverage through the statewide habitat conservation plan, go to #2.
  2. Which of the following three categories best describe your land management activities:
    • A: Ongoing harvest and regrowth of timber resulting in incidental and possibly permanent take (e.g., commercial forestry)
    • B: One-time development or construction resulting in permanent take (e.g., subdivision construction)
    • C: Right-of-way and/or corridor maintenance and construction (e.g., utility, railroad and highway rights-of-way management)
    If A, you should apply for full partner status. This status requires the broadest participation and affords the broadest coverage.

    If B, you should apply as a one-time permittee. This non-partner status requires compensatory mitigation.

    If C, go to question #3.
  3. As a right-of-way or corridor manager, will your activities result in ongoing incidental take (e.g., maintenance) AND possible permanent take (resulting from construction)?

    If yes, you should apply for full partner status.

    If no, go to question #4.
  4. As a right-of-way or corridor manager, what will your activities include:
    • A: Ongoing incidental take only (e.g., maintenance), or
    • B: Permanent take only (e.g., construction)?
    If A, you should apply for limited partner status. This requires a simple inclusion process and compliance with best management practices.

    If B, you should apply as a one-time permittee. This non-partner status requires compensatory mitigation.
Apply for coverage

To join the Habitat Conservation Plan Partnership and receive incidental take coverage, follow the steps bellow:

HCP Application Process Diagram

Application flow chart


One-time permits with permanent take of habitat will require the completion of a Habitat Replacement Plan Template for Major Construction Projects[PDF] that can be completed either concurrent with or after the partnership process.

Last revised: Wednesday May 22 2019