Meteor Timber Project May Threaten an Endangered Species

A proposed Meteor Timber rail spur and sand-processing plant in Grant, Wis., may result in the “incidental taking” of a rare snake under a permit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources proposes to issue for the project. Incidental take refers to the unintentional loss of individual endangered or threatened animals or plants that does not put the overall population of the species at risk.

Meteor Timber LLC is pursuing the development of a rail spur and processing plant within approximately 67.69 acres of a 752-acre property for storing, loading, and shipping industrial sand. The purpose of this project is to build a dry processing plant and rail transload facility to process and ship frac sand to market for use by the oil and gas industry.

The presence of the state endangered and federally threatened eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus) has been confirmed in the vicinity of the project site. DNR staff determined that the proposed project may result in the incidental taking of some snakes.

Department staff concluded 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 or the habitat that is critical to its existence.

The conservation measures to minimize the adverse effect on the endangered species will be incorporated into the proposed Incidental Take Permit.

The department is requesting comments from the public through Oct. 9, 2017. Public comments should be sent to Rori Paloski, DNR, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921or [email protected]

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