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Indiana Bat

Section 7 Consultation with Federal Highway Administration

 

Range-wide Consultation and Conservation Strategy with Federal Highway Administration for Indiana bat under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act

 

The Service and Federal Highway Administration are working towards a standardized approach to assessing impacts to Indiana bats from highway construction and expansion projects; then avoiding, minimizing and mitigating those impacts.

 

Indiana bats are found over most of the Eastern half of the United States. Section 7(a)(l) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires federal agencies to use their authorities to conserve listed species. Section 7(a)(2) of act requires federal agencies to consult on any action that may affect a listed species. Consultation and mitigation approaches for impacts to Indiana bats vary greatly across the 22 states that consult on Indiana bat, and those approaches have been rapidly changing in recent years. Consultation approaches are likely to continue to evolve independently in response to the spread of white-nose syndrome across the species’ range. These variations and changes have caused uncertainty, conflict, delays, and large workloads for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and state Departments of Transportation (DOTs).

 

A range-wide, landscape-level conservation strategy will provide more transparency and predictability to FHWA and state DOTs through proactive planning. This effort will provide information to these agencies that allow them to strategically avoid developing projects in high impact or high risk areas for the Indiana bat. For those projects that cannot avoid impacts, project proponents will be able to initially design their projects to effectively minimize impacts without the need to redesign projects. For those large-scale projects or projects with greater impacts, priority conservation areas will be identified to offset and minimize the impacts of the take. This approach will result in a significant increase in the consistency of both project design and review, will significantly reduce consultation process timeframes, reduced delays, and contribute meaningfully to the conservation of the species.

 

Specifically, the FHWA and the Midwest, Southeast and Northeast regions of the Service are proposing to collaborate on a pilot effort to develop a range wide consultation and conservation strategy for Indiana bats to help expedite the consultation process related to transportation projects. We envision the strategy will include:

  • proactive conservation measures that are most suited and needed for the conservation of the species,
  • priority areas for mitigation measures,
  • standardized effects analyses with avoidance and minimization measures associated with project types,
  • an informal programmatic consultation covering all states; and
  • detailed framework for future programmatic formal consultations.

Scope of Work

 

USFWS Field Office Contacts

 

Regional Representatives on the FHWA Indiana Bat Team

 

Forest Clark, FWS Project Lead

Bloomington, Indiana Field Office, 812-334-4261, forest_clark@fws.gov

 

Jessica Hogrefe, Region 3 Representative,

Region 3 Regional Office, Bloomington, MN 612-713-5346, jessica_hogrefe@fws.gov

 

Rob Tawes, Region 4 Representative,

Region 4 Regional Office, Atlanta, GA, 404-679-7142, robert_tawes@fws.gov

 

Glenn Smith, Region 5 Representative,

Region 5 Regional Office, Hadley, MA, 413-253-8627, glenn_s_smith@fws.gov

 

 

Information about Section 7 and the Consultation Process

 

Information about the Endangered Species Act

 

Information about Endangered Species Act policies

 


Indiana Bat Home

Midwest Endangered Species Home

 

 

Last updated: April 1, 2014