MADISON — The construction of a new electrical transmission power line between La Crosse and Dane counties may result in the “incidental taking” of rare lizards, turtles and frogs under an authorization the Department of Natural Resources proposes to issue for the project.
Incidental take refers to the unintentional loss of individual endangered or threatened animals or plants that does not put the overall population of the species at risk.
The Badger Coulee Line Project (Segments 1-4) is a proposed new, predominantly single-circuit 345 kilovolt (kV) transmission line between northern La Crosse County and northern Dane County. In the La Crosse area, the line will connect to the Briggs Road Substation in the town of Onalaska. In Dane County, the line will connect to the North Madison Substation in the Town of Vienna and continue to its termination at the Cardinal Substation in the Town of Middleton.
The Project consists of eight construction segments (Segments 1 through 8) and also extends through Columbia, Sauk, Juneau, Monroe, Jackson, and Trempealeau counties for a total length of approximately 187 miles.
The Project is jointly owned by American Transmission Company; Dairyland Power Cooperative; Northern States Power Company, a Wisconsin corporation; SMMPA Wisconsin, LLC, and WPPI Energy. ATC will be the Project’s construction manager, acting on behalf of itself and its co-owners.
The presence of the state endangered slender glass lizard (Ophisaurus attenuatus), state endangered ornate box turtle (Terrapene ornata), state threatened wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) and state endangered Blanchard’s cricket frog (Acris blanchardi) have been confirmed in the vicinity of the project site. DNR staff determined that the proposed project may result in the incidental taking of some lizards, turtles and frogs.
Department staff concluded that the proposed project will minimize the impacts to the species by adhering to conservation measures; is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence and recovery of the state population of the species or the whole plant-animal community of which they are a part; and has benefit to the public health, safety or welfare that justifies the action.
The conservation measures to minimize the adverse effect on the endangered/threatened species will be incorporated into the proposed Incidental Take Authorization. Copies of the jeopardy assessment and background information on the slender glass lizard, ornate box turtle, wood turtle and Blanchard’s cricket frog are available by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for incidental take public notice or upon request from Rori Paloski at 608-264-6040 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The department is requesting comments from the public through Feb. 18, 2016. Public comments should be sent to Rori Paloski, Wisconsin DNR, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921 or email@example.com.