Species Observations and Encounters

Each proposed project with the potential to encounter a special-status reptile species will submit a rescue and relocation plan to agency(ies) for review and approval prior to initiating construction. General guidance to be considered during plan development is as follows: 1) leave the uninjured animal if it is not in danger, or 2) move the animal to a nearby location if it is in danger as described in REP-006, Species Handling and Relocation, below. These options are further described as follows:

– When a special-status reptile is encountered in the project area, the priority is to stop all activities in the surrounding area that have the potential to result in the harm, injury, or death of the individual. The agency-approved biologist then needs to assess the situation to select the course of project that will minimize adverse effects to the individual.

– Avoid contact with the animal and allow it to move out of the project footprint and hazardous situation on its own to a safe location. This guidance only applies to situations where an animal is encountered while moving through habitat and under conditions that will allow it to escape. This does not apply to animals that are uncovered or otherwise exposed or in areas where there is not enough adjacent habitat to support the life history of the special-status reptiles if they move outside the construction footprint.

– Avoidance is the preferred option if the animal is not moving or is within some sort of burrow or other refugia. In this case, the area will be well marked for avoidance by construction and an agency-approved biologist will be assigned to the area when work is taking place nearby. If avoidance is not practicable or safe for the special-status reptile, the project proponent will implement REP-006, below.