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Toledo bend relicensing ferc project no. 2305 - pre-application document

6.0 Description of Existing Environmental Resources and Potential Resource Impacts Wildlife and Botanical Resources
General Description of Terrestrial Resources The Project area in eastern Texas and western Louisiana occupies the Level III U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Ecoregion known as the South Central Plains (Griffith et al. 2004). The South Central Plains, known locally as the Piney Woods, is a region of mostly irregular plains that was once blanketed by upland oak-hickory-pine forests, but now predominately consists of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) and shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata).
Within the broader scale Level III ecoregion, lie three major land resource areas or Level IV USEPA Ecoregions: the Tertiary Uplands, the Southern Tertiary Uplands, and the Floodplains and Low Terraces (Griffith et al. 2004). Ecoregions, as defined and described by the USEPA, denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and quantity of The Tertiary Uplands ecoregion occupies the northern portion of the Toledo Bend Reservoir.
Natural vegetation includes loblolly pine, shortleaf pine, southern red oak (Quercus falcata), post oak (Quercus stellata), white oak (Quercus alba), hickories (Carya spp.), and sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), and mid and tall grasses such as yellow Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), longleaf woodoats (Chasmanthium sessiliflorum), and panic grasses (Panicum spp.).
americana), sumacs (Rhus sp.), greenbriars (Smilax spp.), and hawthorns (Crataegus spp.) are typically part of the understory. Many areas are replanted to loblolly pine for timber production, or are in improved pasture for cattle. Lumber and pulpwood production, livestock grazing, and poultry production are typical land uses.
Oil and gas production is also widespread The Southern Tertiary Uplands ecoregion occupies the southern portion of the Toledo Bend Reservoir. The Southern Tertiary Uplands ecoregion generally covers the longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) range on Tertiary sediments. In the past, longleaf pine often occurred on sand ridges and uplands, but open forests were also found on other soil types and locations. On more mesic sites, some American beech (Fagus grandifolia) or magnolia-beech-loblolly pine forests occur.
Toledo Bend Relicensing FERC No. 2305 6.0 Description of Existing Environmental Resources and Potential Resource Impacts Some sandstone outcrops (Catahoula Formation) have distinctive barrens or glades in Texas and Seeps in sand hills support acid bog species including sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana), hollies (Ilex spp.), southern bayberry (Morella caroliniensis), insectivorous plants, orchids, and wild azalea (Rhododendron sp.). Currently, it has more pine forest than the oak- pine and pasture land cover to the north in the Tertiary Uplands. Large parts of the region are within public National Forest lands such as the Sabine National Forest that is located along portions of the western shoreline of the Toledo Bend Reservoir (Griffith et al. 2004).
The Floodplains and Low Terraces ecoregion occupies the area adjacent to the Sabine River downstream of the Toledo Bend Project. This ecoregion comprises the western margin of the southern bottomland hardwood communities that extend along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coastal plains from Texas to Virginia.
This ecoregion is mostly the Holocene alluvial floodplains and low terraces where there is a distinct vegetation change into bottomland oaks and gum forest. Water oak (Quercus nigra), willow oak (Quercus phellos), sweetgum, blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica), elms (Ulmus spp.), red maple (Acer rubrum), southern red oak, swamp chestnut oak (Quercus michauxii), and loblolly pine are representative species. Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) and water tupelo (Nyssa aquatica) occur in semi-permanently flooded areas typically found in oxbows and old river channels (Griffith et al. 2004).
The following section includes information about existing botanical and wildlife resources within and adjacent to the Project area and includes lists for Newton, Panola, Sabine, and Shelby counties in Texas and DeSoto, Vernon, and Sabine Parishes in Louisiana and documented rare plant and animal species occurring in the Project area as well as in the general vicinity of the Project area. The Louisiana Natural Heritage Program (LNHP), the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), and the USFWS maintain information on the status and location of rare, threatened and endangered (RTE) plant and animal occurrences. Wildlife species typical of this area including both game and non-game species are also provided.
Each of the above mentioned ecoregions and community types are part of the South Central Plains or Piney Woods Level IV vegetation zone. The Piney Woods vegetation zone covers Toledo Bend Relicensing FERC No. 2305 6.0 Description of Existing Environmental Resources and Potential Resource Impacts many millions of acres, which is considered gently rolling to hilly-forested land.
European settlement, this area supported longleaf pine, shortleaf pine, loblolly pine, and oak- hickory forests and was typically maintained through fire. Today the region is composed of fragmented pine and pine-hardwood forests with some cropland and pastureland. Bottomland hardwood forests of oak-hickory, elm, sweetgum, sugarberry (Celtis laevigata), and ash (Fraxinus spp.) are located in the Piney Woods region. Swamps, bogs, and manmade lakes extend through the region, which has generous rainfall, with annual precipitation of up to 40-60 Five national forests are located in the Piney Woods region, including the Sabine National Forest, which is located in the Project area and immediately adjacent to Toledo Bend Reservoir (TEP 2008). The other national forests include Angelina National Forest east of Lufkin Texas and adjacent to Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Davy Crockett National Forest west of Lufkin, and Sam Houston National Forest east of Huntsville Texas and adjacent to Lake Livingston.
Kitsatchie National Forest, in western Louisiana south of Natchitoches, is also found in the region. The Big Thicket National Preserve includes disjunctive landholding southwest of the Project area along the Neches River drainage. These major land resource areas offer diverse habitats for both botanical and wildlife resources.
The botanical resources associated with the Toledo Bend Project area and downstream reach are comprised of the general community types and described below. The dominant community types represented includes Bottomland Hardwood Forest, Mixed Pine-Hardwood Forest, Pine Plantations, and Grasslands and Crops. Other community types associated with wetland habitats, excluding Bottomland Hardwood Forest, are described in Section 6.4.3.
This community is typically found on flat, dissected areas on floodplains somewhat elevated above adjoining cypress-gum swamps. Bottomland forests may be called a fluctuating water level ecosystem characterized and maintained by a natural hydrologic regime of alternating wet and dry periods (LANHP 2004). This community is generally characterized by a well-developed Toledo Bend Relicensing FERC No. 2305 6.0 Description of Existing Environmental Resources and Potential Resource Impacts canopy of mature sweet gum, loblolly pine, overcup oak (Quercus lyrata), water oak, willow oak, green ash, river birch (Betula nigra) and other species. A subcanopy of young canopy species, plus many tall shrubs including southern sweetbay, hollies, wax-myrtles, yaupon (Ilex vomitoria), small snowbell (Styrax americanus), and wild azalea occur.
common and include poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), cross vine (Bignonia capreolata), greenbriars, and grapes (Vitus spp.), to name a few. Common herbs that can typically be found in this community include cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis), spotted jewelweed (Impatiens capensis), Indian mock strawberry (Duchesnea indica), smartweeds (Polygonum spp.), sedges (Carex spp.), bluestar (Amsonia glaberrima), and rosemallow (Hibiscus spp.) as well as many other species (LNHP 2004). Large stands of giant cane (Arundinaria gigantea) can be found in this community, especially along the natural levee banks and terraces.
microtopography, bottomland hardwood communities typically include many scrub\shrub and emergent wetland inclusions. A more detailed discussion of bottomland hardwood forests is provided in Section 6.4.3 and Volume II-Appendix C.
This community is variable depending on elevation and consequent moisture regime (LANHP 2004). Loblolly pine comprises 20 percent or more of the overstory in a mixture with a number of hardwood species. On moist sites, sweetgum, beech, water oak, cherrybark oak (Quercus pagoda), swamp white oak (Q. bicolor), white oak, poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), American elm (Ulmus americana), red maple, and pignut hickory (Carya glabra) are important hardwood On dryer upland sites protected from fire, overstory dominants in addition to loblolly pine are southern red oak, post oak, water oak, black gum, red maple, and mockernut hickory (Carya tomentosa). Shrubs and understory species may include, depending on moisture regime, gallberry (Ilex glabra), American beautyberry, flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), hawthorns, sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum), winged sumac (Rhus copallinum), poison ivy, wax myrtle, yaupon, blackberries (Rubus spp.), deciduous holly (Ilex decidua), yellow jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens), partridge-berry (Mitchella repens), and violets (Viola spp.).
This community is highly managed by man through plantings and other silviculture practices. It is typically planted as a monoculture stand of typically loblolly pine or slash pine (Pinus elliottii) Toledo Bend Relicensing FERC No. 2305 6.0 Description of Existing Environmental Resources and Potential Resource Impacts Very little or no understory species are typically present due to the highly managed nature of the stands and the dense overstory. However, where fire has been used sassafras (Sassafras albidium), yaupon, dwarf pawpaw (Asimina parviflora), American beautyberry, wax myrtle and winged sumac are the predominant shrubs (Inglis et al. 1976).
These areas are dominated by pasture grasses (fescues, panic grasses, bluestems, etc.) and occasionally some areas are planted by row crops. Also, lawns or grassed areas associated with human development fall into this category. Some natural areas including remnants of prairie systems still persist. Vegetation typically found in the natural systems include little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), dropseeds (Sporobolus spp.), bushy broomsedge (Andropogon glomeratus), big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), Indian grass, three-awn grasses (Aristida spp.), crowngrasses (Paspalum spp.), panic grasses, lovegrasses (Eragrostis spp.), and bristle grasses (Setaria spp) (LNHP 2004).
Common composites in this community include asters (Aster spp.), blazing-stars (Liatris spp.), tick-seeds (Coreopsis spp.), goldenrods (Solidago spp.), western ragweed (Ambrosia psilostachya), ironweeds (Vernonia spp.), brown-eyed susans (Rudbeckia spp.), thorough-worts (Eupatorium spp.), pale purple coneflower (Echinacea pallida), rosinweeds (Silphium spp.), Indian plantain (Cacalia plantaginea), and sneezeweeds (Helenium spp.). Woody species that are often present (and that may come to dominate unburned prairies) include hawthorns (often most prominent), gum bully (Sideroxylon lanuginosum), Alabama supplejack (Berchemia scandens), persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), rough-leaf dogwood (Cornus drummondii), eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana), deciduous holly, and greenbrier (LNHP 2004).
The community types associated with the downstream reach is similar to those present in the vicinity of the Project and are included in the community types described above. However, the downstream reach includes significantly more Bottomland Hardwood Forest acreage than the Project area, and has less human development than the shoreline of Toledo Bend Reservoir (LNHP 2004). The lower Sabine River has one of the largest expansions of bottomland and Toledo Bend Relicensing FERC No. 2305 6.0 Description of Existing Environmental Resources and Potential Resource Impacts A detailed discussion of the downstream reach is found in Wetland, Riparian, and Littoral Resources Wetlands are those areas temporarily, intermittently or permanently inundated by surface water Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) criteria for jurisdictional wetlands requires that the three-parameter criteria be met that includes the presence of hydrophytic vegetation, hydrology, and hydric soils (Environmental Laboratory 1987).
Wetland, riparian and littoral development within the Project area is mainly located in areas with relatively level topography, such as tributary confluences, coves, broad flats, floodplain terraces, and gentle slopes and hillsides. Wetland and riparian areas around Toledo Bend Reservoir are influenced by the region’s gradual topography and local/regional hydrology.
Wetlands are represented around the periphery of Toledo Bend Reservoir including the headwater areas by Palustrine Forested (PFO), Palustrine Scrub/Shrub (PSS), Palustrine Emergent (PEM), and Palustrine Aquatic Bed (PAB) wetlands (Cowardin et al. 1979). The Palustrine wetlands include all nontidal wetlands dominated by trees, shrubs, and emergent These wetlands typically include the bottomland hardwood forest types and species described further in this section (Sections 6.4.2.1 and 6.4.3.2).
wetlands occupying the broad floodplain areas adjacent to the Sabine River. Floodplain forest types, including bottomland hardwoods, also dominate the natural riparian cover types adjacent to the reservoir, with areas of pine plantations also represented.
specifically the bottomland hardwood types, are characterized by important principal wetland functions including the maintenance of water quality, fish and wildlife habitat/diversity, groundwater discharge, organic material and nutrient transport and cycling, sediment stabilization, and floodflow alteration (Adamus et al, 1991). This community, in part, forms the Toledo Bend Relicensing FERC No. 2305 6.0 Description of Existing Environmental Resources and Potential Resource Impacts riparian and floodplain area for most of the lower Sabine River, especially along the first natural These communities are typically low, flat wetlands (known as swamps) dominated by woody vegetation less than 20 feet tall (LANHP 2004). The hydric soils are poorly drained and surface water can be present along a gradient from temporarily and seasonally flooded to semi- These wetlands are found along slow-moving tributaries, floodplain depressions, swales and oxbows, back reaches of the river pointbars, and back swamps.
Scrub/shrub wetlands in the Project area are characterized by important principal functions including the maintenance of water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, organic material and nutrient transport and cycling, shoreline stabilization, and floodwater attenuation and storage.
Characteristic species in the Toledo Bend area include buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), black willow (Salix nigra), swamp red maple (Acer rubrum var.drummondi), swamp privet (Forestiera acuminata), small snowbell, swamp cyrilla (Cyrilla racemiflora), wax myrtle (Morella cerifera), poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), dwarf palmetto (Sabal minor).
Understory herbaceous plants associated with this community include sensitive fern (Onoclea sensiblis), spotted jewelweed, false nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica), dayflower (Commelina communis), and smartweeds (Polygonum spp.).
The invasive Chinese tallowtree (Sapium sebiferum) has invaded many scrub/shrub and bottomland wetlands downstream of the Project.
These wetlands typically form the transition zone between the relatively drier bottomland hardwoods and the permanently flooded or saturated emergent wetlands.
Emergent wetlands consist of communities where the water table is at or near the surface or inundated with standing water (i.e., semi-permanently to permanently flooded hydrology).
Emergent species occurrence and richness is determined by the extent of inundation. These wetlands are also found along slow-moving tributaries, reservoir coves and flats, and within the floodplain depressions, swales and oxbows.
Emergent inclusions can also be found within scrub\shrub and bottomland hardwood wetlands, depending on the topography (e.g., oxbows and Toledo Bend Relicensing FERC No. 2305 6.0 Description of Existing Environmental Resources and Potential Resource Impacts Emergent wetlands in the Project area are characterized by important principal functions including the maintenance of water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, organic material and nutrient transport and cycling, and shoreline and sediment stabilization.
Herbaceous species common to these emergent communities include various sedge species (Carex spp.), beakrushes (Rhynchospora cephalantha), soft rush (Juncus effusus), arrowhead (Sagittaria graminea), green dragon (Arisaema draconitum), water primrose (Ludwigia spp.), sensitive fern, royal fern (Osmundo regalis), cattail (Typha latifolia), spotted jewelweed, false nettle, Virginia dayflower, and several smartweed species.
Aquatic bed communities consist of wetlands of floating or submerged plants in areas of little water movement such as Toledo Bend Reservoir. Some of the species are rooted in the soft substrate and other species are free floating. Submerged and floating aquatic species provide valuable fish and macroinvertebrate habitat in Toledo Bend Reservoir, as well as foraging opportunity for resident and migratory waterfowl. Additional wetland functions accrued by the aquatic bed wetlands include maintenance of water quality, organic material and nutrient transport and cycling, and shoreline stabilization. Little to no aquatic bed communities are found or expected in the lower Sabine River, downstream of the Project, due to the flowing water and Common species found on Toledo Bend Reservoir include pondweeds (Potomogeton spp.), alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides), southern naiad (Najas guadalupensis), coontail (Ceratophyllum demursum), water milfoil (Myriophyllum spp.), water shield (Brasenia schreberi), water lily (Nymphaea odorata), duckweed (Lemna minor), and mosquito fern (Azolla There are substantive littoral zones within Toledo Bend Reservoir including areas with invasive aquatic vegetation including Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata), water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), and giant salvinia (Salvinia molesta) (SRA 2008).
fishermen consider Hydrilla and the associated monotypic beds a valuable habitat cover species for Largemouth Bass in Toledo Bend Reservoir.
Toledo Bend Relicensing FERC No. 2305 6.0 Description of Existing Environmental Resources and Potential Resource Impacts Water hyacinth and giant salvinia remain the most problematic aquatic vegetation species on Toledo Bend Reservoir and in the region (i.e., East Texas, North Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia). Water hyacinth is generally more troublesome in the North Toledo Bend Wildlife Management Area (NTBWMA) than in other areas of the reservoir. Sustained high water levels after drought conditions in 2005 and 2006 resulted in severe outbreaks of both giant salvinia and water hyacinth in the northern portion of the reservoir, including the NTBWMA. In spite of control efforts in 2007, the expansion of these two species now poses a serious threat to boat ramps and water front access in some areas of the reservoir (SRA 2008).
Giant salvinia, a highly invasive, free-floating aquatic fern native to Brazil, was first confirmed on Toledo Bend Reservoir in 1998. Initial control efforts using herbicides, in conjunction with fall drawdowns and the salvinia weevil (Cyrtobagous salviniae), held isolated populations in check for many years. Following sustained high water levels in 2004 and an expansion of giant salvinia to over 3,000 acres, herbicide treatments were limited to severely infested boat ramps and access points to contain the infestation and prevent its spread to neighboring reservoirs Aerial surveys conservatively estimated 5,000 acres of giant salvinia on Toledo Bend in spring 2005. By August 2005, giant salvinia infestations had been reduced by drought conditions and accompanying low water levels. Spring 2006 surveys estimated a total of 3,125 acres of giant By September 2006, giant salvinia infestations were again reduced substantially by drought conditions. The fall 2006 survey found approximately 1,200 acres.
Plants remaining were confined to primary drainages inaccessible to boat-mounted spray equipment. Spring rains in 2007 helped the population recover, and the spring survey indicated 1,500 acres. By fall 2007, both giant salvinia and water hyacinth had expanded to 2,555 acres and 1,525 acres, respectively (SRA 2008). A more detailed discussion of invasive aquatic plants The Sabine River Authority of Texas and the Sabine River Authority, State of Louisiana, in partnership with the TPWD and the LDWF, are actively surveying the extent of the invasive aquatic species and providing management and education in the control of the two most invasive species (i.e., giant salvinia and water hyacinth).
Toledo Bend Relicensing FERC No. 2305 6.0 Description of Existing Environmental Resources and Potential Resource Impacts 6.4.3.1 Wetlands within the Project Boundary Based on the National Wetland Inventory (NWI) digital database, the following information provides the area (acreage) of wetlands types within the Project area (Texas and Louisiana).
LAB (lacustrine [i.e., lake] aquatic bed) - 51,075 acres PAB (palustrine [freshwater] aquatic bed) - 4,462 acres PSS (palustrine scrub/shrub) - 2,469 acres Due to the size of the Project area, there are a considerable number of wetland maps. The wetland figures (Figure 6.4-1) based on the NWI maps are provided in Volume II-Appendix E.
Generally, the indigenous wetland communities within the Toledo Bend Reservoir are known to be representative in species and community, vigorous in growth and healthy. In the adjacent forested wetlands, tree crowns in the canopy did not show any unusually extensive stress or dead wood. Similarly, the scrub/shrub wetlands typically demonstrated good densities of species, with full branching and leafing. The emergent wetlands located on the reservoir were normally found in protected cove areas and riparian flats. The species richness and diversity of all wetland types mirrored natural community expectations for this area.
There were no obvious and significant Project related impacts observed to wetland resources in The range of water levels, (i.e. directly related to hydroelectric operations) is such that the hydrology for the adjacent wetlands is not adversely affected (see Section 4.3 for a detailed description of Project operations). Historically, Project reservoir levels have fluctuated during the year from a normal maximum pool level of 172 ft. to a minimum pool level of 162.2 ft. Typically, the reservoir is at its highest level during the winter and early springs months and, beginning in May, the Authorities gradually draws the reservoir to reach its With the amended 2007 Consolidated Power Sales Agreement, the minimum power pool level for the purposes of hydroelectric power generation is now 168 ft. (previous minimum power pool Toledo Bend Relicensing FERC No. 2305 6.0 Description of Existing Environmental Resources and Potential Resource Impacts was 162.2 ft.). However, in the past the Authorities have historically operated the Project at reservoir levels much higher than the minimum pool level of 162.2 ft. and at a higher mean reservoir level of 169.64 ft. (FERC 2002).
Except during periods of extreme drought or FERC required water level reductions, there are no significant reservoir water level fluctuations during the growing season (i.e. April – October).
There are neither excessive nor insufficient lake levels to greatly affect the structure or principal functions (e.g., water quality, shoreline stabilization, fish and aquatic habitat) of the wetland communities as a whole. From 1999 through 2007, the average monthly water elevation for the reservoir varied by no more than 2.5.ft. Typically, the summer reservoirs vary less than 1.0 ft., as observed during the month of June 2008. Thus, the Project has little to no negative effects on these wetlands due to the fact that they formed under the current operating regime and are stable, 6.4.3.2 Wetlands Downstream of the Project Boundary As mentioned earlier in this section, the downstream reach of the lower Sabine River is one of the largest expansions of bottomland and floodplain forest in the region. Existing and relevant information concerning the reach of the Sabine River downstream of the Project establishes that current summer peaking flows have little effect on these adjacent but connected bottomland communities. Also, recent studies (Phillips 2003) stated that the long-term pattern of release from the Toledo Bend Reservoir, combined with downstream flow attenuation, creates a flow regime in the lower basin that mimics the pre-dam regime at least at on a monthly and annual However, specific hydrological and ecological information was lacking on this Thus, a Pre-PAD study was initiated to provide information on the location and distribution, vegetative species composition and structure, classification, and relative condition of the existing bottomland communities within the zone of operational influence along the Sabine River downstream of the Toledo Bend Project. The following information provides a summary of the Pre-PAD study results. The complete study report is provided in Volume II-Appendix C.
Toledo Bend Relicensing FERC No. 2305 6.0 Description of Existing Environmental Resources and Potential Resource Impacts A diversity of bottomland botanical species was encountered in the lower Sabine River floodplain forest. The Bottomland Hardwoods natural community (LADWF 2004) comprised the majority of the forested wetlands. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries- Natural Heritage Program (2004), in their natural community classification, states that Bottomland Hardwood Forests are alluvial wetlands occupying broad floodplain areas that flank large river systems. They are predominately associated with the Mississippi, Red, Ouachita, Pearl, Tensas, Calcasieu, Sabine, and Atchafalaya River floodplains (LDWF 2004). Bottomland Forests may be called a fluctuating water level ecosystem characterized and maintained by a natural hydrologic regime of alternating wet and dry periods (LDWF 2004).
support a distinct assemblage of plants and animals associated with landforms, soils, and hydrologic regimes (LDWF 2004). They are important communities for functions such as water quality, habitat for fish and wildlife, regulating flooding, and stream recharge (LDWF 2004).
An idealized floodplain proceeds sequentially from the river channel to the surrounding uplands (Zone I – VI) along a gradually increasing elevational gradient. The presence of natural levees interrupts this sequence; depending on elevation, the levee may be characteristic of Zones II, III, Accordingly, levees are generally excluded from the Natural Wetland Technical Committee (NWTC) zonal concept, although these levee features are important in the structure and functions of the community. Other geomorphic features contribute further to the complexity of zonation patterns on most southeastern floodplains (Wharton et al. 1982).
The NWTC vegetation zonal concept (Wharton et al., 1982) is important in describing the average percentages of the growing season during which saturated soil conditions occur in the various ecological zones from permanently flooded (Zone I) through the bottomland hardwood floodplain (Zones II-V) to the adjacent upland (Zone VI). The relative flooding percentages and associated vegetation has been found to be accurate in depicting community characteristics. The flood tolerance index of the representative lower Sabine River vegetation (typically canopy trees) also provides an indicator of the hydrologic regime.
The following list of species (including wetland indicator status and ecological zones) is a representative subset of species encountered in the lower Sabine River bottomlands. This list is in order of the lowest or wettest terrestrial zone (Zone II) to the highest or driest terrestrial zone Toledo Bend Relicensing FERC No. 2305 6.0 Description of Existing Environmental Resources and Potential Resource Impacts located within the floodplain forest (Zone V) (Martin et al. 1993; Peacock 1994; USFWS 1988; Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) – OBL* Water Tupelo (Nyssa aquatica) – OBL* Water Elm (Planera aquatica) – OBL* Spotted Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) – FACW* Black Willow (Salix nigra) – OBL* Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) – OBL* Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) – FACW* Water Hickory (Carya aquatica) – OBL* Overcup Oak (Quercus lyrata) – OBL* Soft Rush (Juncus effusus) – FACW+ * Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) – FAC * Lizardtail (Saururus cernuus) OBL* Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) - FACW- * Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) – FACW* Willow Oak (Quercus phellos) - FACW- * Sweet Gum (Liquidambar styraciflua) - FAC+ * River Birch (Betula nigra) – FACW* Ironwood (Carpinus caroliniana) – FAC* Sugarberry (Celtis laevigata) – FACW* Virginia Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana) - FAC+ * Dwarf Palmetto (Sabal minor) – FACW* Virginia Dayflower (Commelina communis) – FACW* Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) – FAC* American Holly (Ilex opaca) – FAC- * Swamp Chestnut Oak (Quercus michauxii) – FACW- * Cherrybark Oak (Quercus pagoda) – FAC* Toledo Bend Relicensing FERC No. 2305 6.0 Description of Existing Environmental Resources and Potential Resource Impacts Water Oak (Quercus nigra) – FAC* Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda) – FAC* Giant Cane (Arundinaria gigantea) – FACW* Hop Hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana) – FACU- * Obligate Wetland (OBL) - Occur almost always under natural conditions in wetlands (>99%) Facultative Wetland (FACW) – Usually occur in wetlands but occasionally found in nonwetlands (67%- Facultative (FAC) – Equally likely to occur in wetlands or nonwetlands (34%-66%) Facultative Upland (FACU) – Usually occur in nonwetlands (67%-99%) but occasionally in wetlands (1%- Based on the field observations, the bottomland floodplain community on the lower Sabine River downstream to the Big Cow Creek (RM 74.0) confluence is characterized by representative botanical communities and hydrologic conditions. The vegetational gradient, soil conditions, and hydrology/hydroperiod (e.g., overbank flooding, soil saturation) are obviously associated with the geomorphologic floodplain features and the local microtopography including the natural levees, depressions, terraces, and oxbows.
In association with the field reconnaissance and additional floodplain/bottomland observations, most of the active lower Sabine River floodplain consists of flats, depressions, and back swamps Zone IV communities are seasonally inundated or saturated and periodically inundated in the spring for about one to two months during the growing season (i.e., March and April). These bottomland areas have a probability of flooding from 51%-100%. The remaining areas consisted of Zone V levees (usually located adjacent to the riverbank), secondary terraces (i.e., temporarily flooded/saturated), Zone II/III depressions, and oxbow features (i.e., semi- permanently flooded/saturated). Zone V is periodically inundated in the spring for about one month during the growing season (i.e., March or April) with a probability of flooding from 10%- Zone II/III is inundated for the majority of the growing season (i.e., March through September) with a probability of flooding from 51%-100%.
Based on levelogger and site specific hydrologic indicators, evidence of late spring/summer/fall overbank flooding due operational peaking flows was not documented in the bottomland study Toledo Bend Relicensing FERC No. 2305 6.0 Description of Existing Environmental Resources and Potential Resource Impacts reach from the Dam downstream to Big Cow Creek (RM 74). The 7,000-14,000 cfs peaking flows are not of significant stage to overflow the banks during this period.
Overbank flooding (downstream of at least RM 88) does appear to occur earlier in the year during high late winter and early spring floods and high water events.
flooding due spring high flow events such as the early April 2008 high flows was evident in the study area from RM 88 down to Big Cow Creek at RM 74. These observations coincide with the results of the levelogger study mentioned earlier in this report. This seasonal overbank flooding periodicity, frequency, and intensity is representative of bottomland floodplains in the southeastern United States (Wharton et al., 1982).
6.4.4.1 General Description of Terrestrial Wildlife Resources Numerous game and non-game animals are found in the Project vicinity, which includes the nearby Sabine National Forest and the Indian Mounds Wilderness Area adjacent to Toledo Bend Reservoir. Some of these representative species include White-tailed Deer, Raccoon, Bobcat (Lynx rufus), Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus), Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata), Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus), American Woodcock (Scolopax minor), Eastern Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum), Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas), Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) (Sibley 2003), Three-toed Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis), Eastern Hog-nosed Snake (Heterodon platirhinos), and Cornsnake (Elaphe guttata) (Conant et al., 1991; Merritt 1987; Southwest Parks and Monuments White-tailed Deer is the most common big game species in the Project vicinity generally found in a wide variety of habitats ranging from dense forests to agricultural land. This species is most prevalent along forest edges characterized by brushy and woody vegetation, which is essential for concealment and food (Merritt 1987). Wild hogs (Sus scufa) are also common in the Project area, especially the bottomland communities found adjacent and downstream of the Project.
Toledo Bend Relicensing FERC No. 2305 6.0 Description of Existing Environmental Resources and Potential Resource Impacts Other mammals present include furbearers, small game species, rodents, and bats.
wildlife species reside in many different habitat types such as woodland, scrub/shrub or early successional areas, and grassland areas. Use of these areas may shift during different life stages and/or times or year (Merritt 1987).
Species typically found in woodland and riparian areas include Raccoon, Long-tailed Weasel (Mustela frenata), Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis), and White-footed Mouse.
Bat species include the Southeastern Myotis (Myotis austroriparius), Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus), Red Bat (Lasiurus borealis), and Rafinesqui’s Big-eared Bat (Plecotus rafinesquii), and Eastern Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus These mammals are normally found in woodland/riparian areas due to food requirements, predator/prey relationships, and a preference by several species for trees as den or Species typically found in scrub/shrub or early successional areas (e.g., transmission right-of- ways) include Coyote (Canis latrans), Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes), Nine-banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), and Eastern Cottontail.
scrub/shrub areas due to food requirements, predator/prey relationships and, in the case of the Eastern Cottontail and Armadillo, escape cover (Merritt 1987).
Species typically found in grassland areas include the Eastern Mole (Scalopus aquaticus), Hispid Cotton Rat (Sigmodon hispidus), and the Deer Mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus).
species of bats also utilize these areas in manmade structures in these areas of the Project vicinity. Additionally, several of these species can be found in multiple habitat types due to their generalized requirements. Coyotes, for example, use woodlands, wetlands, and grasslands in addition to scrub/shrub areas for foraging, dens, and travel corridors (Merritt 1987).
Avian species reside in many different habitat types in the Project vicinity including woodland, scrub/shrub or early successional areas, and grassland. Species typically found in woodland areas include Barred Owl (Strix varia), Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus), American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla), Blue Jay, and Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis). These avian Toledo Bend Relicensing FERC No. 2305 6.0 Description of Existing Environmental Resources and Potential Resource Impacts species utilize woodland areas due to feeding and nesting requirements (Sibley 2003; Southwest Parks and Monuments Association 1999).
Species typically found in scrub/shrub or early successional areas include Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea), Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens), Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis), and Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla).
grasslands and/or woodlands and also include transmission line ROW. These avian species are routinely found in scrub/shrub or early successional areas due to habitat requirements for activities such as feeding and nesting (Sibley 2003).
Species typically found in grassland areas include Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) and American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis). Additionally, several of these species can be found in multiple habitat types due to their generalized requirements. Red-tailed hawks use woodlands and scrub/shrub areas for nesting in addition to grasslands for foraging (Sibley 2003).
Reptiles and amphibians are common and well represented in the Project vicinity. These reptile and amphibian species inhabit many different habitat types such as woodland, scrub/shrub or early successional areas, and grassland. Use of these areas may shift during different life stages Species typically found in woodland areas due to food and reproductive requirements, include the Three-toed Box Turtle, Five-lined Skink (Eumeces fasciatus), Southern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix contortrix), Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum), Southern Toad (Bufo terrestris), Gulf Coast Toad (Bufo valliceps), Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor), and Northern Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) (Conant et al. 1991; Southwest Parks and Monuments Association 1999; USFWS 1984). Species typically found in scrub/shrub or early successional areas due to food and reproductive requirements include Eastern Hognose Snake and Texas Ratsnake (Elaphe obsoleta lindheimeri) (Conant et al. 1991).
Species typically found in grassland areas include the Eastern Gartersnake. Additionally, several of these species can be found in multiple habitat types due to their generalized requirements. For Toledo Bend Relicensing FERC No. 2305 6.0 Description of Existing Environmental Resources and Potential Resource Impacts example, Southern Toads, and Black Rat Snakes use most all habitat types present in the Project vicinity during the course of a year or during different life stages (Conant et al. 1991).
6.4.4.2 General Description of Wetland and Aquatic Wildlife Resources Reptiles and amphibians are common and well represented within the Project vicinity. These species may make use of some or all floodplain habitats during different times of the year and/or life stages. Others are entirely aquatic and rarely, if ever, venture into terrestrial habitats.
Species typically found in aquatic habitats such as the reservoir, tributaries, and the river mainstem include American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina), Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans), Common Musk Turtle (Sternotherus odoratus), Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus), Broad-banded Water Snake (Nerodia fasciata confluens), Western Lesser Siren (Siren intermedia nettingi), Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana), and Southern Leopard Frog (Rana sphenocephala).
These species utilize aquatic habitats for foraging, loafing (i.e., resting), protection, reproduction, and hibernation (Conant et al. 1991; Southwest Parks and Monuments Association 1999; USFWS 1984).
Species typically found in wetland habitats include Florida Red-bellied Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata obscura), Eastern Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis), Central Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens louisanensis), Small-mouth Salamander (Ambystoma texanum), and Bronze Frog (Rana clamitans clamitans). These species make use of wetlands for foraging, protection, reproduction, and hibernation (Conant et al., 1991; Southwest Parks and Monuments Species typically found in riparian habitats include Common Five-lined Skink (Eumeces fasciatus), Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis), Eastern Gartersnake, Southern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix contortrix), Three-toed Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis), Marbled Salamander (Ambystoma opacum), Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis), and Bronze Frog. Many species utilize riparian zones for shelter, venturing into more aquatic habitats to forage and reproduce (Conant et al., 1991; Southwest Parks and Monuments Association 1999; Toledo Bend Relicensing FERC No. 2305 6.0 Description of Existing Environmental Resources and Potential Resource Impacts Avian species are common and well represented within the Project vicinity.
following avian species generally prefer distinct habitats to others, their highly mobile nature means that they may be found in all floodplain/bottomland habitats, as well as incidentally The Sabine River Basin and associated water resources and bottomland/woodlands are used extensively by migratory waterfowl and neotropical passerines (i.e., flycatchers, vireo, warblers, and tanagers) (USFWS 1984).
Species typically found in aquatic habitats and along shorelines include the Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularia), Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus), Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors), Green-winged Teal (A. crecca), Mallard (A. platyrhynchos), Wood Duck (Aix sponsa), Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon), Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), Snowy Egret (Egretta thula), and Green Heron (Butorides virescens). Species such as the herons utilize open water, point bars, and littoral habitats primarily for foraging preferring riparian arboreal nesting, while others such as the ducks may nest within vegetated shallows and bottomlands and forage in open water (Sibley 2003; Southwest Parks and Monuments Association 1999; USFWS 1984).
During the migratory periods and over-winter, relatively large concentrations of waterfowl species including the Mallard, Blue-winged Teal and Wood Duck use the reservoir, lower Sabine River, and adjacent sloughs and oxbows for stop-over, loafing and foraging habitat. Shorebirds such as the Spotted Sandpiper, Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria), Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca), Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusilla), Least Sandpiper (C. minutilla), and Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) also use the Project area shorelines and flats during migratory periods (Sibley 2003; Southwest Parks and Monuments Association 1999; USFWS 1984).
Several waterbird or colonial bird rookeries are also found within the Toledo Bend Reservoir.
These rookeries can include inter-species associations including the Great Blue Heron, Great Egret (Ardea alba), Snowy Egret, Green Heron, Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis), and Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocrax auritus) or monotypic groups of cormorants. Most of these rookeries are associated with islands of standing timber.
Species typically found in emergent and scrub/shrub wetlands include King Rail (Rallus elegans), Virginia Rail (R. limicola), Sora (Porzana carolina), Northern Rough-winged Swallow Toledo Bend Relicensing FERC No. 2305 6.0 Description of Existing Environmental Resources and Potential Resource Impacts (Stelgidopteryx serripennis), Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) Green Heron, and Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis).
These species utilize wetlands for foraging, shelter, and reproduction (Sibley 2003; Southwest Parks and Monuments Association 1999; USFWS 1984).
Species typically found in riparian habitats include the American Woodcock (Scolopax minor), Purple Martin (Progne subis), Northern Rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx serripennis), Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos), Barred Owl, Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus), Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra), Northern Parula (Parula americana), Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea), and Louisiana Waterthrush (Seiurus motacilla). These species utilize riparian areas for foraging, shelter, and reproduction (Sibley 2003; Southwest Parks and Monuments Association 1999; USFWS 1984).
Mammals are well represented within the Project vicinity. Although many mammal species are wide ranging generalists and make use of all floodplain habitats, others of limited range have Species that make frequent use of open waters and can be typically found near littoral zones and the Sabine River include Beaver (Castor canadensis), Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus), and Mink (Mustela vison). These species forage within littoral zones and may breed in stream banks or in constructed lodges (Merritt 1987; Southwest Parks and Monuments Association 1999; Species typically found within wetlands include White-tailed Deer and Marsh Rice Rat (Oryzomys palustris) and Cotton Mouse (Peromyscus gossypinus).
relatively wide ranging generalist that can make use of multiple habitats, while the latter completes much or all of its lifecycle within wetland habitats (Merritt 1987; Southwest Parks and Monuments Association 1999; USFWS 1984).
Mammal species typically found within riparian areas include the Red Bat, Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana), Raccoon, Mink (Mustela vison), Swamp Rabbit (Sylvilagus aquaticus), and White-footed Mouse (Peromyscus leucopus). These species typically use riparian habitats Toledo Bend Relicensing FERC No. 2305 6.0 Description of Existing Environmental Resources and Potential Resource Impacts for cover, venturing out into surrounding habitats to forage (Merritt 1987; Southwest Parks and Monuments Association 1999; USFWS 1984).
The major land resource areas offer diverse wildlife and botanical habitats. RTE plant and wildlife species that may occur in habitats within the Project vicinity were identified using existing information. Based on existing lists of RTE botanical and wildlife species and known species distributions and habitat requirements, several state or federally listed RTE species potentially occur in terrestrial habitats within the Project vicinity.
RTE plant species that may occur in habitats within the Project vicinity were identified using existing information. Only one plant federally listed plant, earth-fruit (Geocarpon minimum) is potentially found in the Project area and is listed as “Threatened”. Texas golden gladecress (Leavenworthia texana) is listed as a “candidate” species (Table 6.4-1) (USFWS 2008).
State listed RTE botanical species potentially occurring in the Louisiana portion of the Project area and vicinity include Western upland longleaf pine forest, compact prairie-clover (Dalea compacta var. pubescens), Riddell’s spikemoss (Selaginella arenicola ssp. riddellii), small- flowered flame-flower (Talinum parviflorum), American alumroot (Heuchera americana), silver croton (Croton argyranthemus), upland swamp privet (Forestiera ligustrina), and longleaf buckwheat (Eriogonum longifolium)(LDWF 2008a/b; USFWS 2007).
Terrestrial RTE animal species that may occur in habitats within the Project vicinity were identified using existing information.
One federally endangered wildlife species, the Red- cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis) occurs in the Project area. The federally endangered Interior Least Tern (Sterna antillarum athalassos) may be a transient species during migration.
Two other federally threatened species including the Louisiana Black Bear (Ursus americanus Toledo Bend Relicensing FERC No. 2305 6.0 Description of Existing Environmental Resources and Potential Resource Impacts luteolus) and the Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) have been documented in the Project area The Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) and Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) have recently been delisted from the federal list.
americanus) is listed as Threatened because of Similarity in Appearance (i.e., to the Louisiana Black Bear). The Louisiana Pine Snake (Pituophis ruthveni) is listed as a “Candidate” species.
State listed RTE wildlife species potentially occurring in the Louisiana portion of the Project area and vicinity include Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum), Swallow-tailed Kite forficatus), Bald Eagle, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Salamander (Plethodon serratus), Louisiana Pinesnake, Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum), Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macroclemys temminckii), and Waterbird Nesting Colonies State listed RTE wildlife species known or potentially occurring in the Texas portion of the Project area and vicinity include, Black Bear, and Louisiana Black Bear, Rafinesque’s Big-eared Bat (Corynorhinus rafinesquii), Bachman’s Sparrow (Aimophila aestivalis), Piping Plover, Swallow-tailed Kite, Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, American Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus anatum), Arctic Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus tundrius), White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi), Wood Stork (Mycteria americana), Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Interior Least Tern, Louisiana Pine Snake, Timber/Canebrake Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus atricaudatus), Northern Scarletsnake (Cemophora coccinea copei), Alligator Snapping Turtle, and Pig Frog (Rana grylio) (TPWD 2008; USFWS 2008). Table 6.4-1 provides information associated with The USFWS, in association with the PAD consultation, stated that the Project provides nesting habitat for the Bald Eagle, which has officially been removed from the Endangered and Threatened Species list (August 8, 2007). They state that eagles nest in the area from October through mid May. Although the Bald Eagle has been removed from the List, it continues to be protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald Eagle Protection Act.
Toledo Bend Relicensing FERC No. 2305 6.0 Description of Existing Environmental Resources and Potential Resource Impacts Management Plans Affecting Botanical and Wildlife Resources There are management and recovery plans associated with areas within and adjacent to the Project. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP).
assistance and cost-share payments to landowners interested in improving upland wildlife, wetland wildlife, and threatened or endangered species habitats. In addition, fisheries and other wildlife habitats are included in the program.
Furthermore, participating landowners may receive cost-share payments amounting to 75 percent of the cost of establishing eligible conservation practices, but total payments not exceeding $10,000 per individual (Dutton 2007).
There are, as listed by the USFWS, several federally protected species noted within the Project vicinity with recovery plans. The Red-cockaded Woodpecker, the Interior Least Tern (Sterna antillarum athalassos), the Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus), and the Louisiana Black Bear (Ursus americanus luteolus). The Interior Least Tern and the Piping Plover are stated to use areas within the counties adjacent to the Project or have been observed in migration to and from breeding and wintering grounds (USFWS 1990; USFWS 1996).
The USFS gives special management consideration to the Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis), a federally endangered species found in open, mature, and old-growth pine ecosystems of the national forests in Texas. Designated Red-cockaded Woodpecker habitat is signed and habitat boundary trees are painted with white or blue bands to alert the forest user of these The longleaf forest are managed as an ecosystem by the USFS with duel objectives for the resource: The first is to provide a continuous supply of multiple products for local and national needs and for timber management to meet other resource objectives such as threatened and endangered species and wildlife habitat improvement. The second is to use both uneven-age and even-age management systems to meet site-specific objectives such as providing sustainable foraging and nesting habitat for Red-cockaded Woodpecker and even-age management with Toledo Bend Relicensing FERC No. 2305 6.0 Description of Existing Environmental Resources and Potential Resource Impacts periodic thinnings are made to maintain and improve growth conditions and the health of the The Red-cockaded Woodpecker as noted above has been found in the vicinity of the Project (i.e., Sabine National Forest) and will not be affected by changes in the Project (USFS 2008). There is no Red-Cockaded Woodpecker habitat found within the Project Boundary.
The Louisiana Black Bear is historically known from eastern Texas, all of Louisiana, and the majority of Mississippi. However, in the recovery plan the only breeding populations exist in the Tensas, and the Upper and Lower Atchafalaya River basins (USFWS 1995). In addition, the USFWS on May 6, 2008, published a proposed rule to designate approximately 1,330,000 acres of land in 15 Louisiana Parishes (Avoyelles, East Carroll, Catahoula, Concordia, Franklin, Iberia, Iberville, Madison, Pointe Coupee, Richland, St. Martin, St. Mary, Tensas, West Carroll, and West Feliciana) as critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for the threatened Louisiana black bear (USFWS 2008). All the areas listed in the proposed critical habitat are well east of the Toledo Bend Project area.
In July 2005, the TPWD published the East Texas Black Bear Conservation and Management Plan (TPWD 2005). This plan was developed to facilitate the conservation and management of the Black Bear in East Texas through cooperative efforts (TPWD 2005). This plan outlines the life history, conservation and management issues, management strategies and implementation The Interior Least Tern is listed as federally endangered and state of Texas endangered. The migratory subspecies breeds inland along the Mississippi, Colorado, Arkansas, Red, and Rio Grande rivers system. In Texas, the Interior Least Tern is found at three reservoirs along the Rio Grande River, Canadian River in the northern panhandle, on the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River in the eastern panhandle, and along the Red River along the Texas/Oklahoma border There is no breeding or critical habitat in the Project area, although the species most likely passes through the area during the migratory periods.
Toledo Bend Relicensing FERC No. 2305 6.0 Description of Existing Environmental Resources and Potential Resource Impacts A recovery plan for the Interior population of the Least Tern was prepared in 1990 (USFWS 1990). This recovery plan lists several criteria and includes the assurance that protection of essential habitat by removal of current threats and habitat enhancement will be established, establishment of agreed upon management plans, and attainment of a population of 7,000 birds at 1. Adult birds in the Missouri River system will increase to 2,100 and remain stable for 10 2. Current numbers of adult birds (2,200-2,500) on the Lower Mississippi River will remain 3. Adult birds on the Arkansas River system will increase to 1,600 and remain stable for 10 4. Adult birds on the Red River system will increase to 300 birds and remain stable for 10 5. Current numbers of adult birds in the Rio Grande River system (500) will remain stable In April 2008, the Interior Least Tern was listed as one of the species that undergo a 5-year status review. The USFWS is requesting any new information that may have a bearing on the current endangered classification. Based on this information, the USFWS will make a determination on whether the species was properly classified under the Endangered Species Act.
The USFWS developed the National Bald Eagle Management Guidelines to provide landowners, land managers, and others with information and recommendations regarding how to minimize potential project impacts to bald eagles (USFWS 2008).
ƒ A specified distance between activity and the nest (buffer area). Buffers should be large enough to protect existing nest trees and provide for alternative or replacement nest trees; ƒ Natural areas (forested) between the activity and nest trees (landscape buffers); andƒ Avoiding certain activities during the breeding season Toledo Bend Relicensing FERC No. 2305 6.0 Description of Existing Environmental Resources and Potential Resource Impacts ƒ On-site project personnel should be informed of the possible presence of nesting bald eagles with the Project Boundary and should report any observations to the USFS field The USFWS (2008) also states that sensitive nesting colonial wading birds have been documented in the Project area and within Toledo Bend Reservoir. They further state that any known locations be reported to them and entered in their database. They recommend that the following measures be incorporated as special conditions of any issued permit to ensure that adverse affects to the wading birds rookeries are avoided.
ƒ Should work be conducted during the wading bird nesting season (i.e., February 16 through August 31), a qualified biologist should inspect the proposed project area for the presence of undocumented nesting colonies. For each nesting colony discovered within the project area, no-work-activity buffer zones should be delineated, global positioning system coordinates recorded, and the USFWS Lafayette Field Office should be notified ƒ For colonies of nesting wading birds containing herons, egrets, night heron, ibis, roseate spoonbills, anhingas, and/or cormorants, all activity occurring within 1,000 feet of a rookery should be restricted to non-nesting period (i.e., September 1 through February 15, depending on the species present).
Toledo Bend Relicensing FERC No. 2305 ndangered
ndangered
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Source: ftp://ftp.sra.dst.tx.us/incoming/BBEST/Library/BBEST_023-WildlifeandBotanical.pdf

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