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Contact: Stacy Rowe, DNR Conservation Biologist or 608-228-9796

Incidental Take Notice For Sauk And Columbia Counties

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) proposes to issue a permit for the "incidental taking" of a rare snake, which may result from the W13 Right-of-Way Acquisition Project.  

Incidental take refers to the unintentional loss of individual endangered or threatened animals or plants that does not put the species' overall population at risk.

The project scope is a 13.5-mile stretch of American Transmission Company (ATC)’s existing 345kV line known as W-13 (Briggs Rd-N. Madison) adjacent to I-90/94 in Columbia and Sauk counties. ATC will establish an additional 10 feet of maintained right-of-way on each side of the existing 130-foot wide W13 right-of-way to maintain adequate vegetation clearances. To the south, this will require ATC to procure additional easement from landowners. To the north of the transmission right-of-way, ATC already has the rights to manage vegetation in the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) right-of-way. All woody vegetation within the new right-of-way areas will need to be cleared.

The existing W13 right-of-way is regularly maintained to control woody vegetation encroachment and traverses maintained grassy DOT right-of-way, agricultural fields, some commercial/developed properties, cleared wooded wetlands and uplands, herbaceous wetlands and grassland areas. The areas of proposed right-of-way expansion include similar land cover, with the addition of uncleared wooded wetlands and uplands. 

The project also includes off-right-of-way access routes which occur along existing two-track paths or driveways, through developed land, or at the edge of agricultural fields. No clearing is anticipated along the off-right-of-way access routes. No laydown yards or long-term equipment storage areas are needed for the project; however, there are some areas identified for temporary mat storage within the right-of-way.

The presence of the state endangered and federally threatened Eastern Massasauga is confirmed in the vicinity of the project site. DNR staff determined that the proposed project may result in the incidental taking of some snakes. This permit would cover any incidental take for the state listing and would not cover any incidental take for the federal listing.

The DNR concludes that the proposed project is not likely to appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival or recovery of the species within the state, the whole plant-animal community of which they are a part of, or the habitat that is critical to their existence.

Conservation measures to minimize the adverse effect on the threatened and endangered species will be incorporated into the proposed Incidental Take Permit. Copies of the jeopardy assessment and background information on these species are available by visiting the DNR Incidental Take Public Notices webpage or upon request from DNR Conservation Biologist Stacy Rowe at 608-228-9796 or  

The public is encouraged to submit written comments regarding project-related impacts to the Eastern Massasauga by Dec. 18, 2022 to:

Department of Natural Resources
c/o Stacy Rowe, DNR Conservation Biologist
2514 Morse St, Janesville, WI 53545 or 608-228-9796