(Columbia County) The Department of Natural Resources is taking comments on a proposed permit for an agricultural field development project in Columbia County that may result in the incidental taking of a rare turtle. The State Game Farm West Field Project, located next to the Mackenzie Center near Poynette, will enable the farm to produce its own straw, reducing budget costs.
Work will result in a permanent loss of 20 acres of grassland habitat that will be converted to agriculture. DNR officials say the presence of the state endangered ornate box turtle is confirmed in the area. They add that the proposed project may result in the incidental taking of some turtles.
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. The DNR says work crews will minimize the impacts of the species by adhering to conservation measures, which is unlikely to jeopardize the continued existence and recovery of the turtle.
Conservation measures to reduce the adverse effect on the endangered species will be incorporated into the proposed Incidental Take Permit. Comments on the project can be sent to DNR Conservation Biologist Rori Paloski by April 15th, at 101 South Webster Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53707 or email [email protected]. Paloski’s phone number is 608-516-3742.