Biological opinion on the land and resource management plan wayne national forest, ohio prepared by




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Indiana Bat
AMOUNT OR EXTENT OF TAKE
The Service anticipates that incidental take of Indiana bats will occur in the form of harm through habitat loss. Based on our knowledge of the ecology of Indiana bats, and the distribution of Indiana bats on the Wayne NF, we assume that the habitat that will be lost will affect the roosting and foraging habitat of Indiana bats.
It is unlikely that direct mortality of bats will be detected; that is, we do not expect that dead or moribund bats will be found. Behavioral or physiological effects, which impair reproduction and recruitment, or other essential behavioral patterns are anticipated; there is no practical means to directly measure these impacts to bats. Therefore, the anticipated level of take for the next five years is expressed as 10,606 acres (permanent loss of 2,504 acres of forest and the alteration of 8,102 acres of forest) plus the loss of an additional 125 hazard trees, as designated in the Biological Assessment, that is currently suitable summer roosting and foraging habitat for Indiana bats and that may be cleared for the activities listed in Table 2.

Table 2. The anticipated level of take of Indiana bat habitat that may occur the next five years on the Wayne NF with the continued implementation of the Forest Plan.






Type of Incidental Take


Activity


Acres

Permanent loss of habitat


(2,504 total acres)

coal strip mining


2,100

road construction

94

trail construction

160

oil and gas wells

25

special use permits

125

Alteration of habitat
(8,102 total acres + 125 trees)

timber harvest


2,500

timber stand improvement

2,500

prescribed fire

2,500

creation of wildlife openings

352

closing underground entrances

250

hazard tree removal

125 trees





EFFECT OF THE TAKE
The Service has determined that the level of anticipated take of Indiana bats is not likely to result in jeopardy to the species. The amount of suitable Indiana bat habitat found on the Wayne NF will remain relatively stable over the next five years. Only a small fraction of the forested acres will be altered over the next five years by the continued implementation of the Forest Plan. Furthermore, most of the activities only alter Indiana bat habitat, not eliminate it. The proposed activities are not anticipated to reduce the status of Indiana bats on the Wayne NF, and thus, the implementation of the Forest Plan will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of survival and recovery of the Indiana bat.

REASONABLE AND PRUDENT MEASURES
The Service believes the following reasonable and prudent measures are necessary and appropriate to minimize take of Indiana bats. The terms and conditions listed in the next section are specific actions on how the reasonable and prudent measures must be met.
1. Maintain adequate canopy cover in hardwood stands (depending on the size of the stands) to provide Indiana bat foraging habitat.
2. Provide roosting habitat by preserving shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) or shellbark hickory (Carya laciniosa) trees.
3. No snag removal (snags with a dbh 6 inches), except where they pose an imminent threat to human safety.
4. Maintain a component of large, over-mature trees, in hardwood stands, when possible. These trees will ensure a continuous supply of large roost trees for the bat.
5. Tree removal activity will be closely monitored and reported on a project-by-project basis to ensure that impacts of incidental take associated with future proposed projects are appropriately minimized.


6. Protect all known Indiana bat hibernacula on the Wayne NF.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS
In order to be exempt from the prohibitions of section 9 of the ESA, the Wayne NF must comply with the following terms and conditions, which implement the reasonable and prudent measures described above and outline required reporting/monitoring requirements. These terms and conditions are non-discretionary.
1. When conducting hardwood timber harvests and completing TSI within hardwood stands, maintain at least 60 percent canopy cover whenever possible.
2. Shagbark hickory or shellbark hickory trees shall not be cut during TSI activities, unless the density of trees of these 2 species, combined, exceeds 16 trees/acre. If present, at least 16 live shagbark and shellbark hickory (combined) greater than 11 inches dbh must be maintained per acre.
3. Snags that are potential Indiana bat habitat shall not be removed for TSI purposes. Firewood cutting permits should clearly state that standing dead trees may not be taken.
4. To maintain a component of large, over-mature trees, at least 3 live trees per acre > 20 inches dbh should be maintained in the stand. The 3 trees should be any of the preferred species listed below or a combination of the species listed below. (A tree with < 10 percent live canopy should be considered a snag and would not count towards the 3 trees to be left). These must be among the largest trees of these species remaining in the stand. An additional 6 live trees per acre > 11 inches dbh (of the species listed below) must also be maintained. (The "per acre" requirement can be expressed as the average per acre on a stand-wide basis, depending on the definition of a stand).
shagbark hickory (Carya ovata)

shellbark hickory (Carya laciniosa)

bitternut hickory (Carya cordiformis)

silver maple (Acer saccharinum)

green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica)

white ash (Fraxinus americana)

eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides)

northern red oak (Quercus rubra)

post oak (Quercus stallata)

white oak (Quercus alba)

slippery elm (Ulmus rubra)

American elm (Ulmus americana) (This list is based on review of literature and data on Indiana bat roosting



black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) requirements. Possibility of adding other species as identified)


If there are no trees > 20 inches dbh to leave standing, 16 live trees per acre must be left, and these must include the largest specimens of the preferred species remaining in the stand.
5. During non-hibernation season, Wayne NF will retain all shagbark and shellbark hickory trees over 6 inches dbh and all live trees, of any species, over 6 inches dbh that are hollow, have major splits, or have broken tops, unless they are a safety hazard. Additionally, the Wayne NF will retain a minimum of 12 live trees per acre over 6 inches dbh, of any species, with large areas of loose bark, unless they are a safety hazard. Harvesting of shagbark and shellbark hickory is allowed on the forest during the Indiana bat hibernating season (after September 15 and before April 15) except as might be restricted by the preceding terms and conditions #2 and #4.
6. To ensure that the exemption of incidental take is appropriately documented, the Service will implement an tiered programmatic consultation approach. As individual projects are proposed under the Forest Plan, Wayne NF shall provide project-specific information to ROFO that (1) describes the proposed action and the specific area to be affected, (2) identifies the species that may be affected, (3) describes the manner in which the proposed action may affect listed species, and the anticipated effects, (4) specifies that the Aanticipated effects from the proposed project are similar to those anticipated in the programmatic biological opinion,@ (5) a cumulative total of take that has occurred thus far under the tier I biological opinion, and (6) describes any additional effects, if any, not considered in the tier I consultation.
The Service will review the information provided by the Wayne NF for each proposed project and this project-specific review is appropriately documented. During this review if it is determined that an individual proposed project is not likely to adversely affect listed species, the Service will complete its documentation with a standard concurrence letter that refers to this BO, the tier I programmatic document (i.e., it Atiers@ to it), and specifies that the Service concurs that the proposed project is not likely to adversely affect listed species or designated critical habitat. If it is determined that the proposed project is likely to adversely affect listed species or designated critical habitat, then the Service completes a tier II biological opinion with a project-specific incidental take statement.
Because habitat manipulation acreage is being used to monitor levels of incidental take, for each proposed individual project, within the tree removal activities listed below, provide ROFO with a description of the project that includes the location, type of activity, and total acreage to be disturbed by individual project. When reporting the type of activity it must correspond to one of the following management activities:
 Hardwood thinning and uneven-aged cuts 2250 acres

 Pine thinning and uneven-aged cuts 250 acres

 Timber stand improvement 2500 acres

 Prescribed fire 2500 acres

 Permanent road construction 32 acres

 Temporary road construction 37 acres

 Oil and gas wells road construction 25 acres

 Trail construction (hiking, horse and ORV) 160 acres

 Creation of wildlife openings 352 acres


 Mineral development 2125 acres

 Special use permits (roads and utility corridors) 125 acres

 Hazard tree removal 125 trees

 Closing of underground entrances 250 acres



Each project proposal must report how the individual project increases the cumulative forested acres (or number of trees) affected within each of the above management activities and report on the total acreage (or number of trees) remaining in each management activity. Your letter requesting the project specific review must include your determinations that the proposed project is consistent with this programmatic biological opinion and incidental take statement and request that the proposed project be tiered to this programmatic biological opinion.
7. Any dead bats located on the Wayne NF where the species determination is unclear, should be immediately reported to ROFO [(614) 469-6923], and subsequently transported on ice to that office. No attempt should be made to handle any live bat, regardless of its condition; report bats that appear to be sick or injured to ROFO. ROFO will make the final species determination on any dead or moribund bats found on the Wayne NF. If an Indiana bat is identified, ROFO will contact the appropriate Service Law Enforcement office. (The handling part of this term and condition does not apply to those specific individuals who are permitted, as agents of the State, for conducting work on Federally listed bat species.)
8. If additional Indiana bat hibernacula are discovered on the Wayne NF, bat-friendly gates shall be installed, as funding allows, to prevent unauthorized entry. Human access to areas surrounding the known hibernacula will be deterred by closing or relocating trails that lead to or pass within easy viewing distance of known hibernacula. A one-quarter mile of undisturbed forested buffer should be retained surrounding all known hibernacula where the Forest Service has jurisdiction. Undisturbed forested buffer is defined as an area where trail and road construction and tree harvesting activities are prohibited. Prescribed fires should not occur within one-quarter mile of all known hibernacula on the Wayne NF, where the Forest Service has jurisdiction, during the fall swarming and hibernation period of the Indiana bat. When developing prescribed burn plans, Wayne NF personnel should ensure that smoke management in the vicinity of known hibernacula will prevent smoke from entering into the known hibernacula.
9. Before backfilling any mine openings, such as a portal entrance or subsidence depression with a developed opening, a survey for potential bat presence will be required during the fall swarming period. This period usually falls between mid-August to mid-October. The survey is optional if the closure will be accomplished by installing a bat-friendly gate.
Summary

In conclusion, the Service believes that no more than 10,606 acres of forest that is currently suitable summer roosting and foraging habitat for Indiana bats will be lost over the next five years. Coal strip mining, road construction, trail construction, oil and gas wells, and special use permits may remove up to 2,504 acres of suitable summer roosting and foraging habiat. Further, the Service believes that the alteration of currently suitable summer roosting and foraging habitat for Indiana bats will be limited to 8,102 acres for pine thinning and uneven-aged cuts, hardwood thinning and uneven-aged cuts, TSI, prescribed fire, creation of wildlife openings, and closing of underground entrances. Additionally, up to125 hazard trees (25 per year) may be removed from the Wayne NF during the period from April 15 to September 15.
The Service believes that the reasonable and prudent measures outlined above will significantly reduce the impacts of incidental take of Indiana bats on the Wayne NF and that these measures are reasonable and fall within the Forest Service=s responsibilities to conserve Federally-listed species as outlined in sections 2(c)(1) and 7(a)(1) of the ESA.

Bald Eagle
AMOUNT OR EXTENT OF TAKE
The Service anticipates that incidental take of bald eagles as a result of forest management activities or other actions implemented from the Forest Plan on the Wayne NF (including timber management operations, human disturbance, prescribed fires, and indirect effects) will be difficult to quantify and detect for the following reasons: 1) there is an abundance of roost trees available to eagles throughout the forest; it would therefore, be difficult to document that the harm or harass provisions of take resulted from the loss of a particular tree when numerous, alternative roosts are available for roosting, 2) eagles have become acclimated to some level of human activity on the Wayne NF (USFS 1998), 3) the Service is unaware of any study that has accurately identified the degree of impact to bald eagles from drifting smoke that originated from prescribed fires adjacent to occupied areas, and 4) it is unlikely that activities that could adversely impact the water quality of rivers, lakes, creeks, and streams where the species forages would be of such magnitude to appreciably decrease this species forage base.

EFFECT OF THE TAKE
The Service has determined that the level of unquantifiable, anticipated take of bald eagles is not likely to result in jeopardy to the species. Bald eagles have been occasionally sighted on or near the Wayne NF. At this time, bald eagles are not nesting on the forest but are migrating through or wintering there. While timber harvest activities could remove potential nesting and roosting trees within the forest as well as create noise and human disturbance, the proposed activities are not anticipated to reduce the status of bald eagles on the Wayne NF. Therefore, the implementation of the Forest Plan will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of survival and recovery of the bald eagle.



REASONABLE AND PRUDENT MEASURES
Although the Service has determined that the level of incidental take for this species is unquantifiable, the following reasonable and prudent measures are necessary and appropriate to minimize any adverse impacts to bald eagles on the Wayne NF:
1. Reduce the potential of removing unknown communal night roosts.
2. Discourage continuous and/or repeated human disturbance where wintering eagles (November 15 and March 15) are known to have communal night roosts or form daily congregations [as defined in the Northern States Bald Eagle Recovery Plan (USFWS 1983a)] on all lands or waters managed by the Wayne NF.
3. Use appropriate smoke management techniques to minimize potential impacts of smoke inversion to occupied communal night roosts, daytime concentrations, or occupied breeding territories.
4. In association with the predicted removal of this species from the list of endangered and threatened wildlife, assist the Service and the Ohio Division of Wildlife in monitoring the status of the species on the Wayne NF up through the five years following delisting, according to requirements outlined in the ESA.
The Service believes that the reasonable and prudent measures outlined above will significantly reduce the impacts of incidental take of bald eagles on the Wayne NF and that these measures are reasonable and fall within the Forest Service=s responsibilities to conserve Federally-listed species as outlined in sections 2(c)(1) and 7(a)(1) of the ESA.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS
In order to be exempt from the prohibitions of section 9 of the ESA, the Forest Service (Wayne NF) must comply with the following terms and conditions, which implement the reasonable and prudent measures described above and outline the required reporting/monitoring requirements. These terms and conditions are non-discretionary.
In order to decrease the potential of removing of unknown communal night roosts, the following is necessary:


1. Conduct a minimum of three annual winter (early, middle, and late) searches, as funds are available, (aerial and/or ground) to locate any previously unknown communal night roosts or eagle concentrations on areas of the Wayne NF where actions are being planned that may affect the species following criteria outlined in the Northern States Bald Eagle Recovery Plan (USFWS 1983a). Searches will focus on areas eagles are known to frequent, where congregations of eagles have been previously documented, or where there are concentrated food sources (such as poultry farms, hog lots, aquiculture facilities, etc.) near lands or waters managed by the Wayne NF.
2. Any bald eagle communal night roosts and concentrations (including nests), discovered during winter surveys or during any additional field surveys of proposed project areas, shall be protected following guidelines outlined in the Northern States Bald Eagle Recovery Plan (USFWS 1983a).
3. Any bald eagle nests discovered on Wayne NF lands shall be immediately reported to ROFO and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife (ODNR-DOW).

4. By June 1 of each year, provide an annual report to ROFO and the ODNR-DOW, that includes the following information: (1) results of any winter searches for communal night roosts and concentrations, including mid-winter surveys conducted in cooperation with the Service/ODNR-DOW, and (2) discovery of any nesting territories on lands managed by the Wayne NF. If no surveys have been conducted and no nesting territories discovered on Wayne NF lands during an annual reporting period, an annual report should be submitted with a statement to this effect.


In order to decrease human disturbance, the following is necessary:
5. Protect super-canopy (Tyrell et al. 1998) or other identified congregation roost trees along major river corridors, lakes and lands managed by the Wayne NF, in addition to adhering to

standards and guidelines outlined in the Forest Plan for riparian corridors.


In order to minimize potential impacts of smoke inversion to occupied communal night roosts, daytime concentration sites, or occupied breeding territories, it is necessary to:
6. Consider all bald eagle communal night roosts, daytime concentration sites, or breeding sites (if and when discovered on the Wayne NF) as occupied bald eagle sites. Prescribed fires should not be conducted within 2 mile of occupied bald eagle sites. In order to prevent smoke inversion from occurring at all occupied bald eagle sites, Wayne NF should conduct any planned prescribed fire (in areas outside the 2 mile radius of occupied sites) only when the following have been considered: wind direction, speed, mixing height and transport winds needed in burn planning and implementation, to minimize smoke from drifting toward and occupied sites.
7. By June 1 of each year, provide an annual report to ROFO, that includes any documented case of a prescribed fire that behaved contrary to predicted movement patterns and which resulted in a confirmed adverse impact to bald eagles.
8. For any prescribed fire that could potentially impact Bald eagles, provide ROFO with the opportunity to review burn plans with Wayne NF Fire Management Officer prior to the burn plan being approved.


In order to assist with the Service and Ohio Division of Wildlife in monitoring the status of the species on the Wayne NF up through the five years following delisting according to requirements outlined in the ESA, it is necessary to:
9. Should the bald eagle be found on the Wayne NF, populations should be monitored and managed as directed by this biological opinion and the species delisting monitoring plan for a period of five years after delisting.

American Burying Beetle
AMOUNT OR EXTENT OF TAKE
The Service recognizes that in Ohio, the American burying beetle only occurs in Athens, Hocking and Vinton counties so the following incidental take statement for American burying beetle is limited to those counties. The Service does not anticipate the continued implementation of the Forest Plan will incidentally take any American burying beetles.

EFFECT OF THE TAKE
The Service has determined that no incidental take is anticipated and therefore the continued

implementation of the Forest Plan is not likely to result in jeopardy to the species.



REASONABLE AND PRUDENT MEASURES
The Service has determined that no incidental take for this species is anticipated, therefore, no reasonable and prudent measures are necessary and appropriate to minimize incidental take of American burying beetles on the Wayne NF.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Terms and conditions, which implement the reasonable and prudent measures, are not required because the Service believes that incidental take of American burying beetles on the Wayne NF will not occur.

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