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Wisconsin DNR proposes permit change for handling endangered species

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Wisconsin wildlife officials want to change the permitting process for handling endangered species.

The state Department of Natural Resources is proposing to issue a blanket permit for what’s known as “incidental taking” of endangered and threatened species as a result of surveys, removals and breeding required for “regulatory purposes.”

The permit would authorize approved people to handle, possess, propagate, remove and relocate endangered or threatened species, including bats, snakes, mussels, snails and plants.

For example, when a development is planned for an area where a rare species of snake might live, an environmental consultant would go in to look for snakes and remove them.

Currently those consultants would need a permit for each project, which involves a public notice and comment period. Under the proposed change, projects that occur routinely with identical conservation measures would be covered under a blanket permit.

“It’s much more streamlined,” said Rori Paloski, the DNR’s incidental take coordinator.

Paloski said permit recipients must still be authorized by species experts and submit annual reports to the agency.

“We want to make sure people have training and experience with the animals,” she said.

The DNR has determined that by adhering to conservation practices the change would minimize impacts to species and is not likely to jeopardize their existence or the survival of the state population.

While incidental take authorizations are often associated with the loss of individual creatures, the permit also covers handling.

“We’re not anticipating this activity will kill anything,” Paloski said.

More information, including the DNR’s impact assessment and background information on species, is available on the agency’s incidental take public notice website. The agency is accepting public comments on the proposal through Dec. 15.

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