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MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
FOR
THE PROTECTION OF
THREATENED AND ENDANGERED SPECIES

June 1994

1.0 INTRODUCTION

1.1 Purpose - The purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is to establish a mutually agreeable interagency process for assessing impacts to threatened or endangered species associated with the disturbance of habitat by highway construction. This MOU establishes a system whereby the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) can analyze potential impacts to endangered and threatened species and identify those projects which will not impact listed species. This MOU also establishes a process to ensure the early involvement of concerned agencies in addressing threatened and endangered species impacts due to WYDOT Federal-aid projects.

1.2 Authorities - This MOU is established in accordance with the following authorities, among others.

1.3 Goal - The goal of this MOU is to establish a process for assessing potential impacts to threatened and endangered species.

2.0 OPERATIONAL GUIDELINE

2.1 Coordination - As early as practical in project development, the WYDOT will perform a field review for threatened and endangered species and their habitat, solicit input from Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and consult threatened and endangered species range maps provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). WYDOT will make a determination, based on information provided, whether proposed projects will impact listed species or their habitat. On projects that are not likely to adversely affect listed species (as determined by the above procedures), the WYDOT will have no further coordination with the

Service and will not request a species list. The WYDOT determination of no impact will be fully documented in the project environmental document. On projects that may adversely affect listed species, the WYDOT will continue informal consultation, request a species list, and prepare a Biological Assessment or Evaluation. FHWA will consult/coordinate with the Service for biological assessments and evaluations.

At least every six months, the WYDOT will contact the Service to determine if changes to species lists or range maps are needed. In the event that a project specific species list has been obtained and the project has not begun within six months of receipt of such list, the WYDOT will contact the Service to determine if changes to the list are needed.

For environmental assessments and environmental impact statements the WYDOT will request a listing of species and prepare a biological assessment or evaluation for the Service's concurrence.

2.2 Modification or Termination - This MOH may be modified with the approval of all signatories. Modification may be proposed by one or more signatories. Proposed modifications will be submitted to the FHWA to be circulated to all signatories for a 30-day period of review. Approval of any such modifications will be indicated by written acceptance. A signatory may terminate his participation in this agreement upon written notice to all other signatories.

3.0 SIGNATORIES

FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATIONWYOMING DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
By: /S/By: /S/
Frederick A. Behrens
Division Administrator
Date: 9/29/94 Don Diller
Director
Date: 9/16/94
U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE 
By: /S/ 
Charles Davis
Field Supervisor
Wyoming
Date: 10/11/94 

WILDLIFE/THREATENED AND ENDANGERED SPECIES PROCEDURES

One of Wyoming's most unique and valued resources is its abundant free-ranging wildlife. The objective of this policy is to set forth a clear, consistent process to analyze highway project impacts to wildlife and formulate effective mitigation measures for those adverse impacts.

Procedures

All projects requiring individual environmental documents will need to be field reviewed for the presence of Threatened and Endangered (T&E) species or critical habitat. For categorically excluded (CE) projects, the enclosed information should adequately identify the species to be considered during field reviews and project development. For projects developed with an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement, it is necessary that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) be contacted to determine the listing of T&E and candidate species that may be present in the area of impact with this list serving as the basis for field review and subsequent environmental documentation.

As early as practical in project development, the WYDOT will perform a field review for threatened and endangered species and their habitat, solicit input from Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and consult threatened and endangered species range maps provided by the FWS. WYDOT will make a determination, based on information provided, whether proposed projects will impact listed species or their habitat. On those CE projects with identified habitat or potential for presence of T&E species, and for all EA and EIS projects, expertise from the Wy. Game and Fish or qualified consultants will need to be utilized to fulfill the requirements of the Endangered Species Act of 1973. On projects that are not likely to adversely affect listed species (as determined by the above procedures), the WYDOT will have no further coordination with the FWS and will not request a species list. The WYDOT determination of no impact will be fully documented in the project environmental document. On projects that may adversely affect listed species, the WYDOT will continue informal consultation, request a species list, and prepare a Biological Assessment or Evaluation. FHWA will consult/coordinate with the FWS for biological assessments and evaluations.

At least every six months, the WYDOT will contact the FWS to determine if changes to species list has been obtained and the project has not begun within six months of receipt of such list, the WYDOT will contact the FWS to determine if changes to the list are needed.

For species other than T&E Environmental Services will obtain comments and recommendations from the Wy. Game and Fish Department. Each project should be surveyed similarly to T&E species to determine if any other species may be impacted.

The adverse effects of each project on habitat should be avoided, minimized, repaired, or compensated. A full range of avoidance and minimization alternatives needs to be presented to other agencies and documented.

Mitigation approaches are placed into two broad classes, as follows:

1. Resource Protection - avoiding, minimizing, rectifying, reducing or eliminating adverse wildlife impacts through project planning.

2. Resource Compensation - development and implementation of measures to cancel or moderate unavoidable wildlife impacts associated with a particular development. This consists of: (a) offsetting impacts by restoration, rehabilitation or replacement of an appropriate quantity of a similar resource, or (b) financial compensation.

Resource compensation should be based on replacement of habitat function rather than gross area.

Mitigation of Secondary and Indirect Impacts

Secondary and indirect adverse impacts to wildlife can result from hazards associated with a project, noise and activity, or from the project's workforce. Hazards may include, but not be limited to, electrocution of raptors by powerlines, spills or disposal of hazardous materials, entanglement in fences, entrainment in intake structures, etc. Noise and activity associated with a project may reduce the effectiveness of adjoining habitats, thereby displacing animals. Workforce related impacts may include harassment or poaching of wildlife, increased vehicle collisions with wildlife, loss of wildlife habitat from urbanization associated with a large workforce, etc.

WYDOT will evaluate potential secondary and indirect adverse impacts to wildlife resulting from project development. WYDOT will recommend measures to avoid or minimize these impacts. If impacts are still likely to occur, then WYDOT will recommend that these impacts be mitigated in some manner. Each project must be evaluated on a case-by-case. Examples of mitigation include implementation of environmental awareness training, raptor-proofing of powerlines, etc. Recommendations may include habitat improvement projects to keep wildlife away from impact areas or to mitigate for lost habitat. Specific recommendations may also include monitoring or special studies.

The following is a list of species, habitats, stream categories and their importance in regards to mitigation efforts:

Criteria Description Mitigation Category
Species or Species Habitats Federally Listed T&E Species
State Rare Wildlife
Native Game Fish
Non-native Gene Fish
Furbearing Animal
Federal Category 1 & 2 Spp
State Priority 1 Species
State Priority 2 Species
State Priority 3 Species
Raptors
Migratory Birds of High Federal Interest
Trophy Game Animal
Big Game Animal
Game Birds
Small Game
Other "Protected Animal"
Other "Protected Bird"
Other Nongame Wildlife
Irreplaceable
Vital
High
Moderate
Moderate
Vital
Vital
High
Moderate
High
High
High
Moderate
Moderate
Low
Moderate
Moderate
Low
Special Habitats Critical Habitat (Federal)
Crucial Habitat (State)
Big Game and Trophy Game
  Winter-Yearlong Range
Other Big and Trophy Game
  Seasonal Ranges Parturition Areas
Raptor Nesting Habitat
Riparian Habitat
Wetlands
Other Important or Limited Habitats (e.g. Aspen/Old Growth/Snag/Cliff/Cave)
Irreplaceable
Vital

High

Moderate
High
High
High
Vital
High
Stream Class 1
2
3
4
5
Vital
High
Moderate
Low
Low

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