U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service bulletin: Consultation on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredging projects in Wells and Scarborough, Maine
UPDATE: August 9, 2013: Portland Press Herald: "Wildlife agency OK with Wells Harbor dredging: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it is satisfied the project won't harm three endangered shorebirds."
August 8, 2013: In response to inaccurate statements in a story ("Plight of plovers halts dredging of Wells Harbor") published in the Portland Press Herald today (August 8, 2013), the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service would like to clarify the agency's role in reviewing dredging projects in Wells and Scarborough, Maine.
The Service is consulting with the Army Corps of Engineers because the projects may affect piping plovers, roseate terns and red knots, which are shorebirds protected under the Endangered Species Act. Our shared goal is to avoid or minimize adverse effects the projects may have on these species.
Our consultations with the Army Corps of Engineers are productive, cooperative and on schedule. The consultation process will be done in time for the Army Corps to complete the Wells and Scarborough projects this fall and winter.
As of this week, we have the important biological information we need from the Army Corps to complete our work. We will complete the evaluation within about two weeks.
The Service is not trying to stop or delay the dredging projects, and we have not suggested that they require an environmental impact statement. In fact, we believe that the projects will increase sandy beach areas that will benefit piping plovers.
The Endangered Species Act requires federal agencies to consult with the Service to ensure that the actions they authorize, fund, or carry out are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of listed species. In this case, we believe that appropriate measures can be put in place so that the projects will meet the requirements of the Endangered Species Act, and that we'll agree with the Army Corps that these projects are not likely to adversely affect the three protected shorebird species.
The Army Corps and the Service are fulfilling their responsibility to consult under the Endangered Species Act – a process that occurs hundreds of times between the Service and federal agencies in Maine each year.