Alabama Ecological Services Field Office
Southeast Region

 

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Endangered Species Consultation
Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act

Best Management Practices (BMPs)

The goal of formal and informal consultations under the Endangered Species Act is to protect wildlife, conserve habitat, and minimize the impacts of human activities.  Best Management Practices (BMPs) lay out a framework that, when followed, provide the necessary protections while allowing projects to go forward.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has developed general guidelines that can serve as a starting point in developing specific BMPs for your project.  The following links will guide you to BMPs for general, as well as specific, types of projects.

The following list contains a general set of recommended Best Management Practices (BMPs). (Click here for a PDF version.)

Recommended BMPs for Specific Types of Projects:

 

Recommended Best Management Practices--General Projects

We recommend incorporating the following measures into the project design to protect water quality:

  • Implement best management practices (BMPs) to minimize erosion and prevent sedimentation of drainages in the project area, both during and after construction. 
  • Develop an erosion control plan tailored to the site.  All erosion controls should be inspected routinely, especially during and immediately following significant rain events, to ensure no impacts to nearby surface waters and aquatic habitat.  Immediate corrective action should be taken if erosion or sedimentation is observed.
  • Maintain a naturally vegetated buffer (preferably 100 feet or greater) adjacent to any ditches or drainages to reduce erosion and protect water quality.
  • Immediately revegetate any disturbed areas with a native species or an annual grass.
  • To the extent feasible, complete any work that results in exposed earth during periods when significant rainfall is not predicted.
  • Conduct any work that involves clearing large tracts of land in phases, where practicable, with rapid revegetation upon completion of each phase.
  • If possible, locate all work at least 100 feet from any nearby intermittent or permanent streams to reduce sediment runoff and subsequent turbidity in the stream and downstream.

For specific techniques, see “The Alabama Handbook for Erosion Control, Sediment Control and Stormwater Management on Construction Sites and Urban Areas” (2003), available from Alabama Soil and Water Conservation Committee or on-line.

 

Recommended BMPs specific to bridges and roads…

Depending on construction methods, best management practices (BMPs), and topography, there is potential for soil runoff from construction of bridges over streams to cause sedimentation and turbidity in the stream, which could adversely affect aquatic biota. Upstream bank scour may also occur if the bridge does not span the creek and adjacent floodplains. We recommend incorporating the following measures into the project design to protect water quality:


Sediment trap along a dirt road
Credit: Jennifer Pritchett
  • Ensure the bridge span is appropriately sized to preclude creating increased flooding upstream and bank erosion downstream.
  • Implement BMPs to minimize erosion and prevent sedimentation of drainages in the project area, both during and after construction.
  • Install erosion and stormwater control devices prior to construction activities to protect water quality.
  • Develop an erosion control plan tailored to the site.  All erosion controls should be inspected routinely, especially during and immediately following significant rain events, to ensure no impacts to nearby surface waters and aquatic habitat.  Immediate corrective action should be taken if erosion or sedimentation is observed.
  • Maintain a naturally vegetated buffer (preferably 100 feet or greater) adjacent to any ditches or drainages to reduce erosion and protect water quality.
  • Immediately revegetate any disturbed areas with a native species or an annual grass.
  • To the extent feasible, complete any work that results in exposed earth during periods when significant rainfall is not predicted.
  • Conduct any work that involves clearing large tracts of land in phases, where practicable, with rapid revegetation upon completion of each phase.
  • Use pervious shoulder materials to allow infiltration along highway portions as well as a monitoring plan to evaluate any increase in turbidity or sedimentation rates in streams adjacent to construction areas.

For additional recommendations related to bridges, click here.

For specific techniques and additional information regarding BMPs, see the following technical publications:

  • Roberts, B.C.  1995.  Best Management Practices for Erosion and Sediment Control.  Eastern Federal Lands Highway Design, Federal Highway Administration Report No. FHWA-FLP-94-005, 21400.  187 pp. 

For specific techniques, see “The Alabama Handbook for Erosion Control, Sediment Control and Stormwater Management on Construction Sites and Urban Areas” (2003), available from Alabama Soil and Water Conservation Committee or on-line.

 

Recommended BMPs specific to borrow pits…

We recommend incorporating the following measures into the project design to protect water quality:

  • Implement best management practices (BMPs) to minimize erosion and prevent sedimentation of drainages in the project area, both during and after construction.
  • Develop an erosion control plan tailored to the site.  All erosion controls should be inspected routinely, especially during and immediately following significant rain events, to ensure no impacts to nearby surface waters and aquatic habitat.  Immediate corrective action should be taken if erosion or sedimentation is observed.
  • Maintain a naturally vegetated buffer (preferably 100 feet or greater) adjacent to any ditches or drainages to reduce erosion and protect water quality.
  • Immediately revegetate any disturbed areas with a native species or an annual grass.
  • To the extent feasible, complete any work outside the pit that results in exposed earth during periods when significant rainfall is not predicted.
  • Conduct any work that involves clearing large tracts of land in phases, where practicable, with rapid revegetation upon completion of each phase.
  • If possible, locate the borrow pit at least 100 feet from any nearby intermittent or permanent streams to reduce sediment runoff and subsequent turbidity in the stream and downstream.
  • Channel any water removed from the pit to a settling pond prior to discharge to a natural drainage or ditch.

For specific techniques, see “The Alabama Handbook for Erosion Control, Sediment Control and Stormwater Management on Construction Sites and Urban Areas” (2003), available from Alabama Soil and Water Conservation Committee or on-line.

 

Recommended BMPs specific to urban development….

We recommend incorporating the following measures into the development design to protect water quality:

  • Implement best management practices (BMPs) to minimize erosion and prevent sedimentation of drainages in the project area, both during and after construction.
  • Minimize or avoid use of impervious structures such as excess paving, culverts, sidewalks, and gutters that are designed to remove water quickly from an area.  We recommend use of stormwater controls and BMPs in urban/suburban areas that promote infiltration, slow off-site water movement, allow recharge of the groundwater table, reduce erosion and runoff, and retain vegetation.  Examples of engineering controls include pervious concrete or “pavers” in place of impervious parking lots or sidewalks; use of new or existing trees and shrubs in place of riprap or hardened streambanks; and grassed swales, rain gardens, or created wetlands in place of storm drains and culverts.
  • Place structures, parking lots, roadways, and other developments well away from waterways and natural wetlands.
  • Develop an erosion control plan tailored to the site.  All erosion controls should be inspected routinely, especially during and immediately following significant rain events, to ensure no impacts to nearby surface waters and aquatic habitat.  Immediate corrective action should be taken if erosion or sedimentation is observed.
  • Maintain a naturally vegetated buffer (preferably 100 feet or greater) adjacent to any ditches or drainages to reduce erosion and protect water quality.
  • Immediately revegetate any disturbed areas with a native species or an annual grass.
  • To the extent feasible, complete any work that results in exposed earth during periods when significant rainfall is not predicted.
  • Conduct any work that involves clearing large tracts of land in phases, where practicable, with rapid revegetation upon completion of each phase.

For specific techniques, see “The Alabama Handbook for Erosion Control, Sediment Control and Stormwater Management on Construction Sites and Urban Areas” (2003), available from Alabama Soil and Water Conservation Committee or on-line.

 

Recommended BMPs specific to water distribution…

We recommend incorporating the following measures into the project design to protect water quality:

  • Implement best management practices (BMPs) to minimize erosion and prevent sedimentation of drainages in the project area, both during and after installation of new water system improvements.
  • Develop an erosion control plan tailored to the site.  All erosion controls should be inspected routinely, especially during and immediately following significant rain events, to ensure no impacts to nearby surface waters and aquatic habitat.  Immediate corrective action should be taken if erosion or sedimentation is observed.
  • Where the mains will parallel drainages, maintain a naturally vegetated buffer (preferably 100 feet or greater) adjacent to any ditches or drainages to reduce erosion and protect water quality.
  • Immediately revegetate any disturbed areas with a native species or an annual grass.
  • Avoid placement of water mains in the floodplain or riparian zone to help protect water quality.
  • If wetlands or tributaries must be spanned by the pipeline, attach the pipeline to existing bridges or directionally drill under these water bodies.
  • To the extent feasible, complete any work that results in exposed earth during periods when significant rainfall is not predicted.
  • Conduct any work that involves clearing large tracts of land in phases, where practicable, with rapid revegetation upon completion of each phase.

For specific techniques, see “The Alabama Handbook for Erosion Control, Sediment Control and Stormwater Management on Construction Sites and Urban Areas” (2003), available from Alabama Soil and Water Conservation Committee or on-line.

 

Last updated: March 17, 2014