Eco updates EUM

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
 Data will be used to assign ALU – HMFEI
score will be used to decide if stream is
Cold Water Habitat or not.
 OES is to receive final guidance this
week…. Stay Tuned!
Ecological Updates
Mussel Survey Protocol Update
 An updated Appendix A list has been released by
 Reconnaissance Survey will be included in the
January 2014 update. (result of ODOT comments)
 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
 Habitat Assessment
 Reconnaissance Survey
 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
Ecological Updates
State Mussel Test
 Test is given at the OSU Museum of Biological Diversity in the Mussel Lab.
 Test will be proctored by Dr. Watters, and can be taken by appointment Monday
through Friday, 8:00AM to 4:00PM (test must be completed by 4:00PM).
 Three tests available:
 State wide: 60 species, 100 specimens
 Ohio River Drainage: 56 species
 Lake Erie Drainage: 40 species
 Test must be completed in 3 hours
 Test is “open book”. Any outside source is fine.
 Only one person can take the test at a time.
 Test takers can ask the test proctor questions.
 Test can be re-taken as many times as necessary, but the entire test must be
taken each time (not just the ones that were missed)
 To pass the test, the test taker must get 100% of the Federal T&E mussels
correct, 80% of the State T&E mussels correct, and 80% of all specimens
Ecological Updates
ODNR Herpetology Surveys and Prequalification Requirements
 New professional herpetologist list was released – Now up to 7 people.
 ODNR-DOW is developing a basic pre-qualification for habitat assessments.
 Less stringent than pre-qualification for doing capture surveys
 OES biologists and consultants may meet the new requirements.
 ODNR-DOW has defined the process to be added to the professional
herpetologist list (to be able to do capture surveys).
 Interested biologists need to submit qualifications to ODNR-DOW:
 Education
 Research/studies on amphibians and/or reptiles
 Practical experience working with amphibians/reptiles
 Examples of work
 Person may be qualified to work will all amphibians and reptiles or only
certain species/groups.
 ODOT commented heavily to ODNR on these items.
Rough Green Snake
Wood Frog
Ecological Updates
Federal Species Updates
 Bald Eagle is listed from every county in Ohio (Species of Concern). Make sure to
include the Bald Eagle in the Federal Species write-up for all projects.
 Running Buffalo Clover was added to new counties in Districts 9 and 10.
 Rufa Red Knot has been proposed as threatened by USFWS.
 Only found in Ohio rarely during spring and fall migration periods.
 Generally only found on mudflats and beaches along Lake Erie.
 USFWS has not given ODOT any guidance or restrictions for this species.
 Re-coordination only required for project that “may affect” a newly listed species.
Running Buffalo Clover
Running Buffalo Clover
Ecological Updates
Federal Species Update
 Northern Long-eared Bat (Myotis septentrionalis) has
been proposed as endangered by USFWS for all
counties in Ohio.
 Final Listing expected by October 2014.
 Hibernates is caves and mines, similar to Indiana bat.
 Summer roosting habitat includes the following:
 Trees of any size that have peeling bark, broken
branches, cavities, splits, etc. The habitat must
be above 10 feet from the ground and large
enough to shelter at least one bat.
 Maternity habitat trees are similar to Indiana bat,
but may require less solar exposure and be
smaller. We do not have a definition from USFWS
 May roost in man-made structures such as old
houses, barns, sheds, etc.
Federal Species Updates
 Northern Long-eared Bat needs to be included in all new ESRs (Federal
Species table).
 Conferencing 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
 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 September 30 and April 1).
 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.
Ecological Updates
Indiana Bat Programmatic Biological Opinion/Agreement
 Currently operating under 2007 Programmatic Agreement, extended through
January 31, 2014. New extension has been requested due to additional issues
with the negotiation.
 A federal mediator (US Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution) has been
hired to help with the agreement
 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.
 ODOT SCCC2 bat conservation area has been approved for interim use
(statewide). USFWS will still need to provide final approval of the site.
 Conservation ratios unknown. ODOT is tracking impacts on a debit list.
 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.
Ecological Updates
Indiana Bat Survey Protocol
New survey guidance from USFWS is due out in January 2014.
Will be posted to the Indiana Bat summer survey guidance website (USFWS)
May contain acoustic, mist net, or a combination of both.
Will be used to do any survey work for projects and possibly for potential
mitigation sites.
 OES website will provide a link to this guidance once finalized.
Ecological Updates
Miscellaneous Eco Update Information
 Ecological Manual update (target January 31, 2014)
 New Ecological website (target January 31, 2014)
 New simplified format. Should be much easier to find information.
 Wetland Water Quality Standards Revisions
 OES has negotiated with OEPA on many changes. Should be going out for
public comment within the next couple of months.
 Mussel surveys and RBC surveys:
 OES to develop spreadsheets 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
 ODNR Scenic River MOA being revised (target January 31, 2014)
 Negotiated with ODNR to remove several work type categories.
 Added a Design Build component to the MOA.

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