Habitat Conservation Plan Approved: Incidental Take Permit Issued for the R-Project Transmission Line in Nebraska
June 18, 2019
DENVER — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) signed a Record of Decision, and approved a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) that sets aside 600 acres of suitable habitat for the protection and management for the endangered American burying beetle, as well as other beneficial activities. An HCP must accompany an application for an incidental take permit. The Service issued the incidental take permit for Nebraska Public Power District’s (NPPD) R-Project transmission line for incidental take of the beetle over a 50-year period.
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) allows for a permit for the incidental take of endangered and threatened species. The incidental take of the American burying beetle is expected to occur within a subset, approximately 162 miles, of the entire R-Project area. Furthermore, NPPD also prepared a land restoration plan that details the measures they will voluntarily implement to restore beetle habitat, fragile sandy soils, and other habitats disturbed by R-Project activities.
The Service does not issue a permit for the project only a permit for incidental take as a result of otherwise lawful activities; the purpose of the permit is to authorize the incidental take of the listed species, not to authorize the activities that result in the take. The HCP that must accompany the application for the incidental take permit both minimizes and mitigates harm to the listed species during a project. Therefore, the Service only reviews and approves the Environmental Impact Statement and Habitat Conservation Plan.
On February 8, 2019, the Service released the draft Record of Decision with the final Environmental Impact Statement for a 30 day public inspection period. A Record of Decision is a concise public document that records a federal agency's decision concerning a proposed action for which the agency has prepared an environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act. Now that the Record of Decision has been signed, the permit will be issued. The signed Record of Decision is posted on our website at https://www.fws.gov/nebraskaes/R-Project.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, visit our website, or connect connect with us through any of these social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and Instagram.
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