Avoidance Areas

Based on the results of the habitat assessment and if the exclusionary buffer established by KRAT-2, Habitat Buffer is not sufficient to include the distances described in 3a-3f, in areas where kangaroo rats are present or assumed present,* nondisturbance zones will be established prior to ground-disturbing activities.

a. Environmentally Sensitive Areas and/or Wildlife Exclusion (GPM-7) will be done in coordination with a USFWS-Approved Biologist around potentially suitable habitat within the project site boundaries, so that the potentially suitable habitat can be avoided during ground-disturbing activities. Barriers used will not involve trenching.

b. The contractor will maintain the avoidance zones around active burrows identified by a USFWS-Approved Biologist, with a minimum radius of 50 feet measured outward from the burrow entrance or cluster of entrances.

c. Actions in avoidance zones will be limited to essential vehicle and equipment operation on existing authorized roads and foot traffic. Actions in avoidance zones will be confined to daylight hours unless, at the discretion of the USFWS, operations at other times of day would be beneficial to kangaroo rats.

d. The avoidance zone radius may be altered in consultation with the USFWS, based on publication of new guidance, sensitivity of the site, proximity of existing disturbance, or other factors.

e. If project activities will take place within 50 feet of existing burrow entrances and, in the judgment of the USFWS-Approved Biologist, the combination of soil hardness and activity impact is not expected to collapse those burrows, then those project activities may take place under the supervision of the USFWS-Approved Biologist.

f. Activities authorized by the USFWS-Approved Biologist within 50 feet of burrow entrances will be documented and reported to USFWS.

* The Project Proponent will assume a species is present in an area when suitable habitat is present within the current range of the species and their absence has not been determined by a negative finding using protocol level surveys.