Standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Last Updated: December 20, 2023 (updated posters and pamphlets and contact information)
The Standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake (Plan) was developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in Florida and Georgia for use by project proponents and their construction personnel to minimize adverse impacts to eastern indigo snakes. However, implementation of this Plan does not replace any state of federal consultation or regulatory requirements. At least 30 days prior to any land disturbance activities, the project proponent shall notify the appropriate USFWS Field Office via e-mail (Field Office Contact Information section) that the Plan will be implemented as described below.
As long as the signatory of the e-mail certifies compliance with the Plan (including use of the approved posters and pamphlets, no further confirmation or approval from the USFWS is needed regarding use of this Plan for the project.
If the project proponent decides to use an eastern indigo snake protection plan other than this approved Plan, written confirmation or approval from the USFWS for the alternative plan must be obtained. The project proponent shall submit their alternative plan for review and approval. The USFWS will respond via e-mail, typically within 30 days, either concurring that the plan is adequate or requesting additional information. A concurrence e-mail from the appropriate USFWS Field Office will fulfill approval requirements.
The Plan materials should consist of: 1) a combination of posters and pamphlets (Poster & Pamphlet Information section); and 2) verbal educational instructions to construction personnel by supervisory or management personnel before any clearing or land disturbance activities begin (Before, During, and Post Construction Activities sections).
POSTER & PAMPHLET INFORMATION
The posters provided above shall be placed at strategic locations on the construction site and along any proposed access roads (a final poster for Plan compliance, to be printed on 11 x 17in or larger paper and laminated, is attached). Pamphlets should be printed on 8.5 x 11in paper and folded, and available and distributed to staff working on the site.
FIELD OFFICE CONTACT INFORMATION
BEFORE AND DURING CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITIES
- All Project personnel shall be notified about the potential presence and appearance of the federally protected eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon couperi).
- All personnel shall be advised that there are civil and criminal penalties for harassing, harming, pursuing, hunting, shooting, wounding, killing, capturing, or collecting the species, in knowing violation of the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
- The project proponent or designated agent will post educational posters in the construction office and throughout the construction site. The posters must be clearly visible to all construction staff and shall be posted in a conspicuous location in the Project field office until such time that Project construction has been completed and time charges have stopped.
- Prior to the onset of construction activities, the project proponent or designated agent will conduct a meeting with all construction staff (annually for multi-year projects) to discuss identification of the snake, its protected status, what to do if a snake is observed within the project area, and applicable penalties that may be imposed if state and/or federal regulations are violated. An educational pamphlet including color photographs of the snake will be given to each staff member in attendance and additional copies will be provided to the construction superintendent to make available in the onsite construction office. Photos of eastern indigo snakes may be accessed on USFWS, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and/or Georgia Department of Natural Resources websites.
- Each day, prior to the commencement of maintenance or construction activities, the Contractor shall perform a thorough inspection for the species of all worksite equipment.
- If an eastern indigo snake (alive, dead or skin shed) is observed on the project site during construction activities, all such activities are to cease until the established procedures are implemented according to the Plan, which includes notification of the appropriate USFWS Office. The contact information for the USFWS is provided below and on the referenced posters and pamphlets.
- During initial site clearing activities, an onsite observer is recommended to determine whether habitat conditions suggest a reasonable probability of an eastern indigo snake sighting (example: discovery of snake sheds, tracks, lots of refugia and cavities present in the area of clearing activities, and presence of gopher tortoises and burrows).
- Periodically during construction activities, the project area should be visited to observe the condition of the posters and Plan materials and replace them as needed. Construction personnel should be reminded of the instructions (above) as to what is expected if any eastern indigo snakes are seen.
- For erosion control use biodegradable, 100% natural fiber, net-free rolled erosion control blankets to avoid wildlife entanglement.
POST CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITIES
Whether or not eastern indigo snakes are observed during construction activities, a monitoring report should be submitted to the appropriate USFWS Field Office within 60 days of project completion. The report can be sent electronically to the appropriate USFWS e-mail address listed below.
- Eastern Indigo Snake Standard Protection Measures (PDF)
- Eastern Indigo Snake Standard Protection Measures Educational Posters in English and Spanish
- Eastern Indigo Snake Standard Protection Measures Educational Pamphlets in English and Spanish
- Draft EIS Recovery Implementation Strategy
- USFWS Eastern Indigo Snake Handling Protocol
- Visual Encounter Survey Protocol for the Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi) in Georgia