MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) proposes to issue a permit for the “incidental taking” of a rare frog, which may result from the Xcel Energy: 3444 Pole Replacement project. Incidental take refers to the unintentional loss of individual endangered or threatened animals or plants that does not put the species’ overall population at risk.
Xcel Energy Inc. (Xcel) is proposing construction activities associated with the 69-kilovolt Transmission Line 3444 Structures 13 and 14 (the Project). The Project is located on an unnamed island west of French Island, Wisconsin, owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) as part of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. The purpose of the Project is to relocate Structures 13 and 14, both located on the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Island, due to bank erosion that has resulted in two footings of Structure 14 being exposed to the river channel. Construction of the Project is proposed to begin in July 2023 and end in December 2023. Also, work to restore the Project area and erosion control measures and restoration activities may continue into spring of 2024.
The presence of the state endangered Blanchard’s cricket frog is confirmed in the vicinity of the project site. DNR staff determined that the proposed project may result in the incidental taking of some frogs.
The DNR concludes that the proposed project is not likely to appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival or recovery of the species within the state, the whole plant-animal community of which it is a part of or the habitat that is critical to its existence.
Conservation measures to minimize the adverse effect on the endangered species will be incorporated into the proposed Incidental Take Permit. Copies of the jeopardy assessment and background information on the Blanchard’s cricket frog are available by visiting the DNR Incidental Take Public Notices webpage or upon request from DNR Conservation Biologist Stacy Rowe at 608-228-9796 or Stacy.Rowe@wisconsin.gov.
The public is encouraged to submit written comments regarding project-related impacts to the Blanchard’s cricket frog by May 13, 2023 to:
Department of Natural Resources
c/o Stacy Rowe, DNR Conservation Biologist
2514 Morse St.
Janesville, WI 53545
Stacy.Rowe@wisconsin.gov or 608-228-9796