Black River Bank Stabilization May Cause “Incidental Taking” of Endangered Species

Black River Bank Stabilization May Cause Incidental Taking of Endangered Species

A bank stabilization project Black River in La Crosse County may result in the “incidental taking” of a rare mayfly, massasagua rattlesnake, and butterfly mussel 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 Department of Natural Resources proposes to stabilize a section of the Black River in LaCrosse County. The primary purpose of the project is to stabilize the eroding bank and reduce sediment delivery to the Black River by arresting erosion of a 200 foot section, while adding habitat complexity to the stream.

The presence of the state endangered Pecatonica River mayfly (Acanthametropus pecatonica), Eastern massasagua rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus) and butterfly mussel (Ellipsaria lineolata) have been confirmed in the vicinity of the project area. DNR staff determined that the proposed project may result in the incidental taking of some individuals of these species.

The Department has 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 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.

The conservation measures to minimize the adverse effect on the endangered species will be incorporated into the proposed Incidental Take Authorization.

Press Release, July 4, 2014; Image: NOAA