NiSource Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan Finalized
By Georgia Parham
In early June, the Service announced the availability of the NiSource’s final habitat conservation plan, a multi-state habitat conservation plan developed in conjunction with an application for incidental take under the Endangered Species Act.
The plan was developed by NiSource Inc., a natural gas transmission, distribution and storage company, for operating and maintaining its network of pipelines in 14 northeastern, midwestern and southeastern states.
Indiana bats are among the species covered by the NiSource Habitat Conservation Plan. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo by Ann Froschauer)
The habitat conservation plan covers activities in 14 states: Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
NiSource’s habitat conservation plan covers the company’s activities that may result in take of endangered or threatened species along its pipeline network. The plan addresses conservation needs for 10 federally endangered, threatened or proposed species for which take might occur, along with measures to avoid take of an additional 33 federally endangered, threatened or candidate species.
NiSource’s plan includes measures to avoid or reduce impacts on those species resulting from business activities, as well as mitigation practices such as protecting existing habitat, creating new habitat for protected species, and identifying research to better understand endangered species.
The next step in the process is a Record of Decision on the Environmental Impact Statement after a waiting period of at least 30 days, and a decision on whether to issue an incidental take permit to NiSource. These actions should be completed this summer.
Find out more about the NiSource habitat conservation plan, including a list of covered species and lands, at: www.fws.gov/midwest/Endangered/permits/hcp/nisource/index.html