California Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris actia) – The California department of Game and Fish list the actia, or California, subspecies of Horned Lark as a Watch List species, with a range stretching from Baja California along the coast as far as Humboldt County. The declines in population are due to increased agriculture throughout the range. The California Horned Lark uses open areas with sparse vegetation for foraging on invertebrates and breeding. Nests are cups constructed from grass and herbaceous materials on the ground in open areas. Breeding occurs March through July. Populations are small and uncommon in the northern extension of the range.
The open, sparsely vegetated area of the dune swales and deflation plains may be used by the California Horned Lark. Surveys will determine the presence of Horned larks during the breeding season. In the event California horned larks are present avoidance and mitigation measures will result in the MacKerricher Dune Rehabilitation Project having no negative impacts on California horned lark populations.
Non-status birds – Non-status avian species (see Table??) are afforded protections under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act under the US Fish and Wildlife Service and California Code Section 3513 – Taking Migratory Bird Treaty Act Birds; 3503 and 3503.5 – Protection of Birds’ Nests.
In the event non-status avian species are found using the project area avoidance and mitigation measures will result in the MacKerricher Dune Rehabilitation Project having no negative impact on non-status protected bird populations.
Mammals Townsend’s Big-eared Bat (Cornyorhinus townsendiiI)– Designated a species of high conservation concern by the Western Bat Working Group and a Species of Special Concern by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Cornyorhinus townsendii are highly susceptible to disturbance at roosts resulting in abandonment. To date, no Townsend’s Big-eared Bat presence in the dune area or the immediately surrounding 7.5 minute USGS mapped quadrants has been recorded. However, they have been documented in the counties of Mendocino and those coastal counties to the north and south. Life histories indicate that foraging in the dune area is likely. The Townsend’s Big-eared Bat forages nocturnally spending daylight hours roosting in caves, mines, tunnels, buildings or man-made structures.
The project location is along the western edge of the preserve, opposite the buildings and man-made structures in the area of Highway 1 and Ward Avenue. Project activity will occur during daylight hours and will have no negative impacts on Townsend’s Big-eared Bat populations in the area.
Pallid Bat(Antrozous pallidus) – Designated a species of high conservation concern by the Western Bat Working Group and a Species of Special Concern by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Antrozous pallidus are susceptible to disturbance at roosts resulting in abandonment. To date, no Pallid Bat presence in the dune area or the immediately surrounding quadrants has been recorded. However, they have been documented in the counties of Mendocino and those coastal counties to the north and south. Life histories indicate that foraging in the dune area is likely. The Pallid Bat forages nocturnally spending daylight hours roosting in caves, rock crevices, tree cavities and basal hollows; as well as in mines, tunnels, buildings or man-made structures.
The project location is along the western edge of the preserve, opposite the buildings and man-made structures in the area of Highway 1 and Ward Avenue, as well as forested areas to the east of the highway. Project activity will occur during daylight hours and will have no negative impacts on Pallid Bat populations in the area.
American Badger(Taxidea taxus)
California Department of Fish and Game designates the Badger as Species of Special Concern. American Badger population declines have been attributed to pest and predator control efforts throughout much of their range in California. Badgers use open areas with low or sparse vegetation and dry soils. This mid-sized member of the mustelid family primarily eats small mammals but is opportunistic in taking insects, small birds and eggs. Badgers are active nocturnally and spend portions of the day in burrows which they aptly dig.
Taxidea taxus are known to occur in the Preserve and may be present in the project area. In the event that Badgers are found avoidance and mitigation measures will result in the MacKerricher Dune Rehabilitation Project having no negative impacts on American Badger populations.
Marine Mammals The MacKerricher Dune Rehabilitation Project area is adjacent to open ocean to the west. Several species of pinniped with special status occur or are likely to occur in the waters off the Inglenook Fen – Ten Mile Dunes Preserve.
Steller “Northern” Sea Lion(Eumetopias jubatus) – The Steller “Northern” Sea Lion is listed as a Threatened species by the US Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act and as a Species of Special Concern by the Marine Mammal Commission. The declines in Steller Sea Lion populations are not fully understood, but may have links to historical persecution by the fishing industry and ocean warming. Steller Sea Lions primarily use rocky areas close to water when on land and for breeding but may haul out onto sandy beaches if inclined.
The coastal strand runs the length of the project area to the west. In the event a Steller sea Lion/s hauls out on the beach avoidance measures will result in the Project having no negative impacts on the Steller Sea Lion.
Northern Fur Seal (Callorhinus ursinusI) – Northern Fur-seal population levels are of concern due to historical harvest for pelt and fishing industry persecution. Northern Fur Seals primarily use rocky shore lines for most of their onshore activities, including breeding, but may haul out on sandy beaches if inclined.
The coastal strand runs the length of the project area to the west. In the event a Northern fur seal/s hauls out on the beach avoidance measures will result in the Dune Rehabilitation project having no negative impacts on the Northern fur seal.
In the event any marine mammal hauls out and in present within 100 meters of the project area, the appropriate avoidance measures will result in no negative impacts on individuals or populations.
b, c) A primary goal of the road removal is the improvement of stream and dune habitat for, and protection of, rare, threatened, and endangered species and special-status vegetation communities. The plan will be conducted in compliance with all applicable state and federal threatened and endangered species protection laws and regulations. Work under this plan incorporates all relevant recommendations DFG and USFWS have made to avoid and/or minimize impacts to rare, threatened or endangered species in consultations on this and past projects. DPR will obtain a Streambed Alteration Agreement (SAA) from DFG for each watercourse crossing, a process that includes consultation between DFG and several federal regulatory agencies.
d) Migration and seasonal movements of fauna in the project area will not be negatively impacted by the Dune Rehabilitation Project.
The MacKerricher State Park Dune Rehabilitation project will have less than significant impacts on the migration and or movement corridors for populations of Globose dune beetle and Tenmile shoulder band snail. The project will interrupt movements of the species during project implementation; however, the project will remove existing barriers to movements, restore dune system dynamics to important habitats, and rehabilitate disturbed areas with native vegetation or invasive plant species treatments.
The potential impacts to the migration and movements amphibian, avian and fish species discussed in § – IV.a exist during the project implementation. However, project implantation will follow avoidance and mitigation measures prescribed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure no significant negative impacts to their migration and movements for federally designated species.
Less than significant impacts to amphibian migratory and movement corridors may occur during project implementation. Avoidance and mitigation measures will occur during implementation and post project restoration with native vegetation will improve habitats used for migratory movements.
Avoidance measures occurring during project implementation will have less than significant impacts on fish present in Fen and Inglenook Creek. Post project conditions will benefit anadromous fish movements in both creeks and have no impact to Tidewater Goby movements.
A less than significant impact to migratory bird habitat will occur during implementation and post project conditions enhance habitats available during migratory stopover.
e) The Dune Rehabilitation Project will have no negative impacts on local policies or ordinances regarding biological or arboreal resources.
f) The Dune Rehabilitation Project will have no negative impact on any current or pending habitat conservation plans. Mitigation Measure Bio-1 through 12 Sensitive Fauna
Avoidance and Mitigation Measures Bio-1 Globose Dune Beetle
Equipment operators would avoid driving through, removing or burying native vegetation whenever possible.
Dune habitat outside of the construction footprint would be designated as Environmentally Sensitive Areas. Visible barriers, such as fencing or flagging, would be installed to clearly identify each ESA.
Environmentally Sensitive Areas would be off limits to vehicles, construction staging materials, and construction related activities.
Avoidance and Mitigation Measures Bio-2 Tenmile Shoulder-band Snail
Trained Park staff or volunteers would survey vegetation within the project area for snails and relocate any snails found to suitable, undisturbed habitat outside the area impacted by activity.
Equipment operators would avoid driving through, removing or burying native vegetation whenever possible.
Staging and storage sites would either be cleared of snails with preventative incursion fencing erected, or located away from suitable snail habitat.
Avoidance and Mitigation Measures Bio-3 Amphibians and Reptiles
State Park biologists or Park staff trained by State Park biologists to identify potential habitat and trained in species identification, would survey project areas prior to construction and immediately before construction is to begin.
During construction, disturbed areas would be monitored for the presence of amphibians and reptiles. Any that are found would be relocated into adjacent undisturbed areas.
At stream crossings where stream diversion is necessary, dewatered areas would be visually inspected for the presence of amphibians and reptiles. Any animals present would be captured and released upstream in suitable, undisturbed habitat.
Avoidance and Mitigation Measures Bio-4 Tidewater Goby
Hard points or channelization of the stream should be avoided. Any expansion of the creeks should avoid hard points, such as footings, and should provide for stream movement. Temporary/seasonal bridges may be desirable, if necessary.
In general, work within goby habitat should be conducted in summer when stream flows are at or near their lowest. Depending on survey results, excluding gobies and other fish may be required. Stream flows may need to be temporarily directed around work areas.
Between 2/15 and 9/21, daily surveys should be conducted each morning prior to work starting (that includes disturbance by work crews on site) for the area to be worked that day, plus an additional 100 yard zone around the work area. If a plover (adult, juvenile, or chick), nest, or scrape is located within the surveyed area, no work can be conducted. If chicks are present on the beach segment, no work can be conducted regardless of the survey results.
If no nests are found by 8/21, then daily morning surveys are not needed provided there are no chicks on that beach segment. We would rely on pre-project surveys to avoid winter flocks. Therefore, from 8/22 to 2/14, a 100 yard disturbance buffer zone must be in place around wintering flocks. If pre-project surveys are inadequate to determine the confines of the winter flock, additional surveys would be needed. These may be daily surveys conducted until the wintering flock boundaries can be determined. Work during this time period can be ongoing as long as the 100 yard buffer is maintained relative to the flock's movements.
Vehicle use should be minimized to the extent practicable. If workers can walk to the work site, they should do so. If a vehicle is needed for transportation, then the least number of vehicles should be used and the number of trips minimized. Vehicles should remain on wetted sand unless actively involved with restoration activities (eg. hauling weeds). Areas of wrack (including Velella sp.) should be avoided. Vehicle speeds should be limited to 5 mph, or the minimal speed required to prevent getting stuck in sand. There should be no night driving or driving during periods of diminished visibility. If a winter flock or other plovers are to be passed by a project vehicle, a trained observer should be on board or walking in advance of the vehicle.
Vehicle fueling and maintenance should be conducted away from the project site and the coastal environment whenever possible. If conducted in coastal or wetland areas, a local spill plan should be provided, and the materials needed to contain and clean up a spill should be available.
Dune slopes should be 2-4 percent for maximum benefit to plovers. Large woody debris may/should be incorporated as sheltering material and camouflage.
Native vegetation should be marked in advance (flagging, temporary fencing), and avoided whenever possible.
Trash needs to be contained in predator-proof containers and transported off site at the end of each work day. Lunch and breaks should be taken at the work site to prevent workers from disturbing plovers, attracting predators, or possibly trampling a nest.
No dogs or other pets should accompany workers to the work site(s).
Outreach should be conducted to explain the project and its benefits to plovers, other listed and rare species, and the native coastal dune ecosystem.
Avoidance and Mitigation Measures Bio-6 Northern Harrier
If project activities are scheduled during breeding season, pre-construction surveys will determine Harrier use of suitable habitats within the recommended buffer area.
In the event Northern Harriers are breeding within .25 miles of the project area all project activities will occur greater than .25 miles from the nest location.
The breeding attempt will be monitored bi-weekly to determine final breeding status.
Avoidance and Mitigation Measures Bio-7 Peregrine Falcon
If project activity is scheduled during breeding season, March to August, pre-construction surveys will determine Peregrine use of areas within the recommended survey buffer, 0.5 miles (805 meters). (High frequency traffic occurs over the Ten Mile River Bridge less than 150 meters NE of the project area and continues to the cliffs along the north side of the river. Traffic associated with the project along the haul road, outside the Dune Preserve, will pass along the south side of the river beneath the bridge. The line of project traffic will run tangential to habitat suitable to Peregrine nesting and present a low level constant disturbance in the buffered area.)
In the event Peregrines attempt to nest in the area of the Ten Mile River mouth, the project activity occurring along the north end of the Project area will attempt to minimize activity within the recommended ½ mile (805 meter) buffer of the aerie.
Locations of constant and/or high frequency project activity will reside outside a ½ mile buffer (such as vehicle staging areas, material transfer areas and other activities requiring sustained presence in an area).
Surveys for nesting Peregrines and active nesting attempt monitoring will occur bi-weekly through the breeding season to assess nesting status.
Avoidance and Mitigation Measures Bio-8 Burrowing Owl
The Project will incorporate the California Burrowing Owl Consortium (CBOC) Survey Guidelines, recommending a four phase initial project survey, avoidance measures and passive relocation techniques.
Phase I - a habitat assessment of the project area and surrounding 150m buffer.
Phase II – Survey for owls and/or burrows through all suitable habitats within the 150 m buffer. Transects must be no greater than 30 meters apart. If no burrows or owls are found skip phase three and proceed to Phase IV.
Phase III – In the event that owls and/or burrows are found all locations should be mapped and census and surveys should follow depending on the season:
Nesting Season Survey (April 15th – July 15th)
Four site visits on separate dates 2 hours before to 1 hour after sunrise or 1 hour before to 2 hours after sunset
Map all owl sightings, sign, territorial boundaries and occupied burrow locations
Record observations of owl sign at and about burrows, and owl breeding behaviors observed (if no owl sightings or sign are found perform winter survey)
Winter Surveys (December 1st – January 31st)
Four sight visits on separate dates 2 hours before to 1 hour after sunrise or 1hour before to 2 hours after sunset
Map all owl sightings, sign, activity and occupied burrow locations
Record observations of owl sign at and about burrows, and foraging behaviors observed
Phase IV – Complete a Resource Summary, a written report stating the results from each phase of the survey. The report includes number of owls observed, nesting pairs, productivity, seasonal patterns of use, and a map including all occupied burrows.
In the event an occupied burrow is located during surveys the following project avoidance and mitigation will occur:
Pre-construction Surveys will precede project activity by up to 30 days. Non-essential activity planned within 150 m will be minimized if an owl/occupied burrow is found during winter surveys.
In the event that an Occupied Burrow is within 50 m of essential project activity and known burrows exist greater than 50 meters from the occupied burrow passive relocation measures (as described in the CBOC Guidelines) will be employed.
In the event an Occupied Burrow exists with no known alternate burrow available an alternate burrow will be created at a ratio of 1 artificial burrow for each burrow within the impacted area (1:1) if the burrow remains biologically viable and 2:1 (2 artificial to each original) if the original burrow is rendered biologically unusable.
All relocation efforts will occur at least 1 week prior to activities entering the impacted area to allow for observers to confirm new burrow occupation.
Daily monitoring of the burrow will continue while project activities continue in the 150m area. Annual monitoring of all established burrow site areas shall continue.
Breeding March - August:
All non-essential project activities within 0.25 miles will be minimized if an occupied burrow is found during breeding season surveys until the young have fledged and the adults no longer demonstrate breeding behavior.
All project activities occurring within 75m of the occupied burrow will cease until the young have fledged and adults no longer demonstrate breeding behaviors.
Daily monitoring of occupied burrows will continue while project activities are within 0.25 miles and bi-monthly until a breeding status for the breeding owls has been determined.
Annual monitoring of all established burrow sites shall continue.
Surveys and nest searches will be conducted incorporating the guidelines set forth in The Handbook of Field Methods for Monitoring Landbirds (Ralph, Geupel, Pyle, Martin, DeSante 1993).
Surveys for Yellow Warblers will occur every 10 days during the nesting season, beginning May 1st and lasting through August or the end of activities, in habitats suitable for nesting within 150 meters of the project area.
If Yellow Warblers are detected, nest searches will occur in suitable nesting habitat within 50 meters of the project area.
All project activities will be halted within 50 meters of active Yellow Warbler nests.
Alterations to habitats suitable for nesting may occur during the removal of the Fen Creek culvert and the deconstruction of the Inglenook Creek fill bridge. Replanting of appropriate native vegetation along the new banks and in construction areas will restore habitat disturbed during project activities.
Post-project monitoring will include annual point counts in suitable habitat within 150 meters of affected project areas.