PWE was subcontracted to prepare an Indiana Bat (Myotis sodalis) Conservation Plan (CP) for a proposed pipeline (Project). Planned development of the Project consisted of 19 miles of a new ROW and approximately 8 miles of new or improved access roads. A section of the Project was located within a known Indiana bat management area, and presence was assumed for the entire Project area by the client.
PWE completed an Indiana bat habitat assessment and portal search for the Project in November and December, 2016. The field work was completed along with the routers, environmental crews and land agents. Daily meetings and in the field coordination were used to establish where survey permission was obtained, where the routers cited the line, and where environmental crews had green lighted the route. PWE covered the entire Project area in 12 days with two survey crews. All trees within the site were observed by a United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) approved Indiana bat surveyor and each tree was assessed for its potential suitability as a roost tree. During the portal search, seven (7) mine portals were found within 300 feet of the Project. During the habitat assessment one (1) potential primary Indiana bat roost tree and nineteen (19) potential secondary Indiana bat roost trees were identified within the site.
PWE prepared an Indiana bat CP for the Project which detailed the results of the field work, and included a project-specific avoidance, minimization, and mitigation plan. As part of the CP, the Project had to clear trees during the winter, (November 15 – March 31). During clearing of the Project, the potential primary Indiana bat roost tree, several potential secondary Indiana bat roost trees and all of the mine portals will be avoided. Lastly, a mitigation plan was developed for impacts to secondary Indiana bat roost trees which consisted of the installation of bat boxes at a 1:4 ratio and two years of monitoring.
PWE submitted the CP to the USFWS and received concurrence in less than 30 days. In order to fulfill its mitigation requirements, the client contracted PWE to build and install 5 bat boxes along the Project’s route. Once installed PWE prepared a mitigation completion report. This report will be added to as the mitigation monitoring is completed over the next two years.