S7 Technical Assistance
Whether Western Prairie Fringed Orchid (Platanthera praeclara) May be Present in a Project Area in
Under Section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act (Act), Federal
agencies must consult with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service)
on any action that they fund, authorize, or carry out that may affect
endangered or threatened species or designated critical habitat.
The first step in determining whether consultation is necessary
is to find out whether any listed species or critical habitat may
be present in the area that the proposed action will directly or
indirectly affect (the action area).
Where Western Prairie Fringed Orchid May be Present
In Minnesota, the distribution of extant populations of western
prairie fringed orchid (Platanthera praeclara) corresponds well
with that of certain land type associations (LTA), especially in
the northwestern part of the state (N. Sather, Minnesota Department
of Natural Resources, pers. comm. 2002). Therefore, if suitable
habitat is present in an action area we recommend that agencies
follow the guidance below and initially assume that western prairie
fringed orchid may be present in some parts of the state (Fig. 1).
The areas defined by these LTA's may be conservatively
large due to the uncertainty associated with predicting where new
populations of this species may be found and the lack of comprehensive
surveys in some counties. When a federal agency funds, authorizes,
or carries out an action that may affect suitable habitat in these
areas (Fig. 1), the Service recommends that they either assume that
the species is present and/or that they collect site-specific information
to help determine whether it may be present (e.g., a plant survey).
In this guidance, we have retained the use of 1-mile
buffers around known occurrences, mostly to address one remaining
extant population in southeastern Minnesota (Mower County). This
is the only extant population not included in one of the areas shown
in Figure 1.
Purpose of Guidance
The purpose of this guidance
is to provide action agencies an approach to determine whether it
must consult with the Service under section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered
Species Act regarding an action that it is funding, authorizing,
or carrying out.
Use this approach to determine where section 7(a)(2) consultation
with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding western prairie fringed
orchid is required in Minnesota:
1) Define the action area - all areas to be affected
directly or indirectly by the Federal action and not merely the
immediate area involved in the action (50 CFR 402.02).
2) Consult the Minnesota DNR natural heritage database
and/or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (612.725-3548 ext. 206 or firstname.lastname@example.org) to answer the following questions. If the
answer is yes to either question, go to number 4; if the answer
is no to both, go to number 3:
a) Does the action area contain any recorded population
of western prairie fringed orchid? Note: A few recorded populations
are extinct. Examine the data record and/or contact U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service if in doubt about whether a recorded population
is still extant.
b) Does the action area contain suitable habitat
(see below) that lies within one mile of any recorded population?
Note: A few recorded populations are extinct. Examine the data
record and/or contact U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service if in doubt
about whether a recorded population is still extant.
3) Does any part of the action area contain suitable
habitat for western prairie fringed orchid (see below) that lies
within any of the areas described below. If yes, go to number 4;
if no, go to number 5. (For GIS shapefiles of these areas, contact
Phil Delphey at email@example.com.)
a) Within the Barnesville Beach Complex LTA (251Aa09)
in Clay, Norman, and Polk Counties - Area_1 (Fig. 1).
b) Within the Beach Ridges LTA (223Na01) in Pennington,
and Red Lake Counties - Area_2 (Fig. 1).
c) Within the Gentilly Lake Plain LTA 223 Na15
in Polk and Red Lake Counties - Area_3 (Fig. 1).
d) Within the Bronson Lake Plain LTA 223Na08 in
Kittson County - Area_4 (Fig. 1). Note: The Minnesota County Biological
Survey has searched for western prairie fringed orchid within
this LTA outside of its known distribution in Kittson County.
Therefore, the likelihood of its occurrence outside of known populations
may be low (N. Sather, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources,
pers. comm. 2002), but we assume that it may be present in suitable
habitat within this LTA in Kittson County until we have a more
refined model of its likely distribution in the county.
e) Within the Trosky Till Plain LTA 251Bc02 in
Lincoln, Nobles, Pipestone, and Rock Counties - Area_5 (Fig. 1).
f) Within the Blue Mounds LTA 251Bc03 in Pipestone
and Rock Counties - Area 6.
4) Determine whether the proposed action may affect
western prairie fringed orchid. You may seek assistance from U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service (612.725-3548) if you are uncertain about
the appropriate determination. Consultation with U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service under Section 7(a)(2) of the Act is required if the proposed
action may affect western prairie fringed orchid.
5) Western prairie fringed orchid is not likely
to be present in the action area.
Suitable habitat for Western Prairie Fringed
Orchid in Minnesota
Suitable habitat for western prairie fringed orchid in Minnesota
is, in general, wet or moderately moist (mesic) prairie or sedge
meadows with level or gently sloping topography. In some cases,
the species may also occur along ditches or roadsides where this
type of habitat is present. Water (e.g., flooding) may be an important
agent of seed dispersal (Hof et al. 1999), although seeds will only
develop into flowering plants where hydrologic and other conditions
are suitable and where management is appropriate. For further information
on the species, see the Western Prairie Fringed Orchid Recovery
Hof, J., C.H. Sieg and M. Bevers. 1999. Spatial
and temporal optimization in habitat placement for a threatened
plant: The case of the western prairie fringed orchid. Ecological
Modelling [Ecol. Model.]. 115(1):61-75.
For section 7 consultations, the areas shown above are Land Type
Associations, or portions thereof, in which unrecorded populations
of this species may be present in suitable habitat (see details
in guidance). All known extant populations of western prairie fringed
orchid occur within these polygons except for one in southeastern
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