If you’re applying federal funds to build infrastructure or facility projects in the state of Ohio, your project may require surveys to safeguard protected species. The new environmental protocols released this year require that professionals approved by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources or the United State Fish and Wildlife Service conduct surveys for federally or state listed species.
All native freshwater mussels are protected in the State of Ohio. In addition, ten species that are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act occur in the state. If your project crosses a stream or requires a bridge replacement, a mussel survey may be a requirement prior to any construction activities.
The federally endangered Indiana bat and the proposed endangered Northern long-eared bat have similar habitat requirements – generally in forested areas. According to the new protocols introduced specifically for the Indiana bat, several levels of surveys are required to determine the presence of these species on a site with trees. As declines in bat populations continue, it is expected that additional bat species will be added to the federal Endangered Species List, making this issue even more prevalent. The studies required can be as simple as a habitat assessment or may require an acoustic, mist-net, or emergence survey.
Environmental scientists at LJB are trained and approved to conduct mussel surveys and bat acoustic surveys. If you need more information about the new survey requirements and how they might impact your next project, please contact me.