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. 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 ODNR. 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 Pondhorn 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 correct. 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 Jefferson’s salamander 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 yet. 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 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 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 consultants 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. QUESTIONS?