Breeding Season Measures

To determine whether plovers are occupying the Action Area during the breeding season, a plover survey will be conducted by a USFWS-Approved Biologist within all suitable habitat within the one week prior to proposed work activities. If no plovers are detected, work may proceed without restrictions, but weekly surveys shall continue throughout the breeding season. If one or more plovers are detected within the Action Area
during any weekly survey, the following measures shall be adhered to:

a. Daily pre-activity plover surveys by a USFWS-Approved Biologist will be conducted in all suitable habitat. The USFWS-Approved Biologist will also remain on site during all work activities occurring within suitable plover habitat. If the USFWS-Approved Biologist determines that operations are resulting in a behavioral disturbance to existing plovers, or if one or more plovers move into the after work has commenced, work will stop immediately and not begin again until the USFWS-Approved Biologist has confirmed that the plovers have vacated the area.

If an active plover nest is found within the Action Area, the USFWS-Approved Biologist shall place an 800-foot virtual construction-avoidance buffer zone around the nest, or some other size buffer mutually agreed to in consultation with the USFWS. A Project Proponent/Action Agency may choose to submit in their ESA Section 7(a)(2) Review Form their own analysis and buffer recommendations for consideration. The buffer zone will be delineated digitally (i.e., with no physical fencing or other physical demarcation) to avoid attracting attention to the nest. Work activities shall avoid nest site buffer zones until the USFWS-Approved Biologist determines that the young have fledged, or nesting activity has ceased (e.g., nest failure, predation of chicks). If modified measures are proposed due to site-specific constraints, the proposed activities may lead to adverse effects, including possible incidental take not to exceed the self-imposed take limit of death or injury of two individuals annually per recovery unit. The local USFWS Field Office and Project Proponent will work together during the ESA Section 7(a)(2) Review Form process to ensure an individual project does not adversely affect a significant portion of occupied plover habitat.

b. Active nests found within the Action Area shall be monitored by the USFWS-Approved Biologist from a safe distance (i.e., far enough from nest to avoid disturbing adults or chicks) at least once per day to determine whether birds are exhibiting signs of stress (e.g., frequent flushing, failure to brood eggs or chicks) possibly due to work activities. Work activities that might, in the opinion of the USFWS-Approved Biologist, disturb nesting activities (e.g., excessive noise or visual disturbance) shall be prohibited within the buffer zone until such a determination is made.

c. Access to work sites within occupied nesting habitat will be by foot travel only, and workers will approach the nesting habitat directly from the wave slope (i.e., sand wetted by the last tidal cycle) using the shortest route possible, thereby minimizing visual disturbance to breeding plovers and dependent young. If a project requires vehicle or heavy equipment (e.g., excavators, bulldozers) use above the wave slope on any plover occupied beach, the vehicles or heavy equipment will only access the beach during daylight hours, and be limited to 5 mph or the minimal speed required to prevent becoming stuck in the sand, but never to exceed a speed of 15 mph. The USFWSApproved Biologist will walk in front of the moving vehicle or heavy equipment (at a safe distance) to ensure that no plovers are adversely affected. A short-term behavioral disturbance such as flushing would likely not result in an adverse effect to snowy plovers, however, repeated behavioral disturbances to the same birds may result in an adverse effect. Therefore, the USFWS-Approved Biologist should work to avoid or minimize repeat exposure to any given plover, to the extent practicable.

d. No night work (using artificial sources of lighting) may occur within occupied nesting habitat.