Assessment and Mitigation for Endangered Vernal Pool Invertebratesby E. J. Koford, Ebasco Environmental, Sacramento, United States,
Abstract: The USFWS is considering declaring five species of vernal pool invertebrates endangered. Among these are the Vernal Pool Fairy Shrimp (Branchinecta lynchi), the California Linderiella (Linderiella occidentalis), and the tadpole shrimp (Lepidurus packardi). The native habitats for these species are pristine vernal pools in the Central Valley of California. Unfortunately for developers they also occur in a variety of non-natural habitats, including roadside ditches, bulldozer scrapes, and in seasonal depressions along railroad lines. The protection afforded by the Federal Endangered Species Act does not discriminate among natural and culturally altered habitats, therefore avoiding impacts to these species in altered habitats will become increasingly difficult. Developers will be required to survey for them, adjust construction areas around locations where they are present, and include mitigation measures such as avoidance, replacement of their habitat, and monitoring. Mitigation can consist of avoiding habitats, or transplanting these species by moving either soil or adults to new locations temporarily as a 'seed bank,' then replacing them and the ephemeral pool structure after construction or other disturbance. In all cases monitoring for several years should be done to ensure that these species persist after project completion.
Subject Headings: Construction management | Endangered species | Federal government | Surveys (non-geomatic) | Rail transportation | Highways and roads | Seasonal variations | North America | California | United States
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