Lake States Habitat Conservation Plan
Section 9 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) prohibits the "take" of protected wildlife, including any action that kills or injures wildlife. However, the ESA also allows the Service to issue permits for the "incidental” take of endangered and threatened wildlife. Permit holders can proceed with an activity that is legal in all other respects, but that may incidentally take listed wildlife.
To receive a permit, applicants must design, implement, and secure funding for a conservation plan that avoids, minimizes and offsets (mitigates) harm to wildlife impacted by their activity. That plan is commonly called a habitat conservation plan, or HCP.
The Lake States HCP was prepared by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Minnesota DNR, and Wisconsin DNR, collectively referred to as the State DNRs. The HCP provides a framework to protect four bat species while allowing state, county, municipal, and private landowners to conduct forest management activities within Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
The Lake States HCP provides the basis through which the State DNRs may extend their incidental take coverage to other nonfederal landowners through Certificates of Inclusion (COIs) (federal landowners are not eligible for COIs, as they achieve ESA compliance through the Section 7 process). Those landowners receiving incidental take coverage for activities covered under the Lake States HCP are referred to as program participants, which could include county and municipal governments, private and corporate landowners, and nonprofit environmental organizations. The Lake States HCP addresses incidental take of four bat species (referred to as covered species) that could be affected by forestry management practices:
- Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis)
- Northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis)
- Little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus)
- Tricolored bat (Perimyotis subflavus)
The Lake States HCP covers forest management practices across a plan area including the states of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The covered lands, where all impacts occur, consist of approximately 47.3 million acres of forestlands. The permit term is 50 years, which would allow for full implementation and evaluation of the HCP’s conservation strategy.The Final HCP can be accessed here.