Work Restrictions Near Active Nests

If an active gnatcatcher nest is detected during the survey, either work will be suspended until the young have fledged/beginning of the nonbreeding season, or the following conditions will apply:

a. A USFWS-Approved Biologist will establish a 300-foot disturbance buffer distance between noise-generating project activities and gnatcatcher nests. Noise buffer distances may be modified in coordination with the USFWS Field Office based on project specific characteristics or a Project Proponent/Action Agency may choose to submit their own analysis and buffer recommendations for USFWS’s consideration. If sufficient buffers cannot be implemented, the proposed activities may lead to adverse effects, including possible incidental take up to the program limit for this species (Table 8).

b. If a buffer is established, a Qualified Biologist will monitor the nest during construction for signs of adverse effects, including distress/disturbance. If adverse effects are detected, the Qualified Biologist will have the authority to stop all construction activities in the vicinity of the nest and implement additional protection or avoidance measures. Additionally, the USFWS-Approved Biologist will coordinate with the USFWS-Carlsbad Office to determine whether additional protection measures should be used to avoid or minimize effects on the nesting birds.

c. A Qualified Biologist will continue to monitor the nest and will determine when young have fledged (in coordination with a USFWS-Approved Biologist). Once the USFWSApproved Biologist has confirmed that the young have left the nest, the buffer and exclusion zone may be removed, and construction activities within these areas may resume.