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Ecological Updates Mussel Survey Protocol Update

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Ecological Updates Mussel Survey Protocol Update. An updated Appendix A list has been released by ODNR. Reconnaissance S urvey will be included in the March 2014 update. Surveyors must meet ODOT’s aquatic ecology prequal , or have a state or federal collection permit for mussels.

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slide1
Ecological Updates

Mussel Survey Protocol Update

  • An updated Appendix A list has been released by ODNR.
  • Reconnaissance Survey will be included in the March 2014 update.
    • Surveyors must meet ODOT’s aquatic ecology prequal, or have a state or federal collection permit for mussels.
    • Non-state or federal permitted surveyors must have state collectors permit for invertebrates
  • Survey work required on ALL streams over 10 mi2
  • Projects impacting Group 1 and 3 streams only: Project can be coordinated prior to survey work, as long as ODOT commits to performing a survey/relocation prior to construction.
  • OES has a T and E task order that can be used for any level of mussel survey.

Fat Mucket

Email questions to: [email protected]

slide2

Ecological Updates

Federal Species Update

  • Northern Long-eared Bat (Myotisseptentrionalis) has been proposed as endangered by USFWS for all counties in Ohio.
  • Final Listing expected by October 2014.
  • Similar habitat requirements for Indiana bat, but there are differences.
  • Northern Long-eared Bat Interim Conference and Planning Guidance, January 6, 2014
    • Describes Winter and Summer Habitat
    • Winter Habitat (hibernacula) is underground caves and cave like structures
    • Summer Habitat- Suitable roost trees are trees with DBH of 3 inches or greater that exhibit features such as exfoliating bark, crevices, cavities, or cracks
    • May utilize artificial roosts (barns, sheds, bridges) but not common and does not appear that USFWS is trying to regulate these as of yet
slide3

Federal Species Updates

  • This species needs to be included in all new ESRs (Federal Species table).
  • Conferencing (informal or formal) for this species is required for the following:
    • All new projects that “may affect” this species
    • Projects that have already been coordinated with USFWS, and:
      • The project “may affect” the northern long-ear
      • CE is not complete and/or PCN is needed
      • Project will not be constructed prior to October 2014
  • USFWS “Blanket Concurrence” for projects that have already been coordinated:
    • Project was coordinated as a May Affect, Not Likely for Indiana bat, and USFWS concurred with ODOT’s effect call
    • ODOT has committed to or can commit to seasonal cutting (tree removal only between October 1 and March 31).
    • Northern Long-ear bat has not been captured at that site (if survey work was done).
    • This concurrence needs to be documented in the CE and seasonal cutting needs to be included as an environmental commitment
    • Does not apply to projects that were PC-3 for Indiana bat.
slide4
Ecological Updates
    • Indiana Bat Programmatic Biological Opinion/Agreement
  • Currently operating under 2007 Programmatic Agreement, extended through January 31, 2016.
  • A federal mediator has been hired to help with the agreement. Kickoff meeting 3/7.
  • Ongoing negotiations with USFWS regarding impact analysis, determination of effect(s), conservation measures
    • Conservation measures (mitigation) has been especially challenging
    • Complicated by the proposed listing of the northern long-eared bat.
    • OES is to set up conservation areas in both the new Eastern and Western Management Units.
  • SCCC2 bat conservation area has been approved for use statewide. This will continue until agreement is completed, and will be allowed for a few years after the agreement is signed.
  • Consultant conducted a search for mitigation in the Western MU, and OES is reviewing the report to make a short list of options.
  • The Research Bank (M6-a) is no longer a mitigation option in the west and central management units.
  • Mitigation ratios have not been set. A debit list for SCCC2 has been created.
slide5

Ecological Updates

    • Indiana Bat Survey Protocol
  • 2014 Summer Survey Guidance has been released
  • Allows for both acoustic and/or mist net surveys
  • Can be used to do any survey work for projects
  • New protocol requires more sampling compared to the 2013 Guidance
  • Link posted on OES Eco website
slide6
Ecological Updates
    • Headwater Streams
  • ERAC decision – Primary Headwater designations are not in rule and cannot be used by Ohio EPA.
  • Decision left applicants without a good way to assess streams smaller than one square mile.
  • EPA Guidance (not final) – EPA will accept HHEI data for streams, but the applicant must also provide the following:
    • HMFEI and/or
    • VES (Visual Encounter Survey for salamanders)
  • Data will be used to assign ALU – HMFEI score will be used to decide if stream is Cold Water Habitat or not.
  • Existing Use Guidance for headwater streams to be provided by OEPA – due week of 3/7
slide7
Ecological Updates
    • Miscellaneous Eco Update Information
  • Updates to the Ecological Manual and Ecological Survey Forms to be completed by the end of March 2014
  • Ecological website revision is complete and the site is up and running!
    • New simplified format. Much easier to find information.
  • Mussel surveys and RBC surveys:
    • OES has developed spread-sheets to track workload for these surveys.
    • We will be asking districts to add projects that will need any sort of mussel survey or RBC surveys to the appropriate spread sheet.
    • Survey work may be split between OES biologists and Task Order consultants
  • ODNR Scenic River and Coastal MOA/MOUs currently being revised
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