Brief

Incidental take notice issued for endangered Queensnake in Racine

By: - July 29, 2020 10:25 pm
Courtesy of the Department of Natural Resources page on parks and recreation.

Courtesy of the Department of Natural Resources page on parks and recreation.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has issued an incidental take notice for an endangered snake species in Racine. Workers are currently replacing existing historic structures on a bridge, as well as upgrading the roadways.

A queensnake (Photo credited to A.B. Sheldon) (From DNR page on Queensnake)
A queensnake (Photo credited to A.B. Sheldon) (From DNR page on Queensnake)

Incidental take refers to the unintentional taking, or loss of individual animals or plants which are classified as  endangered or threatened species. The DNR offers the public a period to comment on the proposed activity for the public review and public comment before final approval of the project.

In this case, the queensnake (regina septemvittata) has been confirmed as having populations in and around the construction site. “Department staff concluded that the proposed project will minimize the impacts to the species by adhering to conservation measures and is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence and recovery of the state population of the species,” a DNR press release reads.

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Queensnakes prefer areas near warm-water streams and small rivers. The species eats crayfish and needs theseenvironments to follow prey items. Over winter, the snakes will wait out the harsh months in crayfish burrows, but also will dwell in cracked bridges, old dams, and seawalls. Most active from April through October, the species breeds from mid-May to mid-June. So we just missed its breeding cycle.

Nevertheless, the project poses risks to the queensnakes known to live around the Racine bridge project. Queensnakes are concentrated over eight southeastern Wisconsin counties. Although the species is listed as endangered by the state, it does not have a federal status.

 

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Isiah Holmes
Isiah Holmes

Isiah Holmes is a journalist and videographer, and a lifelong resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Holmes' video work dates back to his high school days at Wauwatosa East High, when he made a documentary about the local police department. Since then, his writing has been featured in Urban Milwaukee, Isthmus, Milwaukee Stories, Milwaukee Neighborhood News Services, Pontiac Tribune, the Progressive Magazine, Al Jazeera, and other outlets. He was also featured in the 2018 documentary The Chase Key, and was the recipient of the Sierra Club Great Waters Group 2021 Environmental Hero of the Year award. The Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council also awarded Holmes its 2021-2022 Media Openness Award for using the open records laws for investigative journalism. Holmes was also a finalist in the 2021 Milwaukee Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards alongside the rest of the Wisconsin Examiner's staff. The Silver, or second place, award for Best Online Coverage of News was awarded to Holmes and his colleague Henry Redman for an investigative series into how police responded to the civil unrest and protests in Kenosha during 2020. Holmes was also awarded the Press Club's Silver (second-place) award for Public Service Journalism for articles focusing on police surveillance in Wisconsin.

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