PNDI Update: Bog Turtle “Hits” in Pennsylvania
U.S. Fish and Wildlife has notified Pennsylvania recognized, qualified bog turtle surveyors of a change made Tuesday, January 21st, 2020 to the Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory/ Pennsylvania Conservation Explorer (PNDI/PACE) system regarding bog turtle “hits”. This may result in a different PNDI response for the Fish and Wildlife Service in some locations.
US Fish and Wildlife PNDI Update for Pennsylvania Bog Turtle
From the Pennsylvania Field Office of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
In the past, projects were considered by county of species occurrence (except Schuylkill, Franklin and Dauphin that include portions of the County based on watershed of occurrence). Phase 1 bog turtle habitat surveys were sometimes needed to comply with the requirements of the State Programmatic General Permit (SPGP) even when the PNDI receipt indicated “No Further Review Required” for the Fish and Wildlife Service. This was indicated by a statement on the bottom of the PNDI receipt, “Note that regardless of PNDI search results, projects requiring a Chapter 105 DEP individual permit or GP 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or 11 must comply with the bog turtle habitat screening requirements of the PASPGP”.
The PNDI update further focuses the areas of potential bog turtle habitat concern that are relatively distant from known species occurrences. The revised range uses various environmental variables and known bog turtle locations as the basis for predicting areas of potentially suitable habitat within the northern population. As a result, it helps target where field surveys should take place to detect presence or probable absence of this species within a project area. To protect the species, the revised range is not publicly available, but rather, it is embedded in both PACE/PNDI and in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Information, Planning and Consultation (IPaC) program, both of which will automatically identify whether bog turtle should be assessed for adverse impacts, or not.
This change was implemented on new and updated PDNI search receipts starting at around 9 AM on January 21st, 2020. This may result in a different PNDI response for the Fish and Wildlife Service in some locations. At the request of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, with this change, the SPGP statement will be removed from new and updated PNDI receipts. Instead, please follow the recommendations under the Fish and Wildlife Service’s response on the receipt.
Future updates will be posted the Pennsylvania Field Office Website at https://www.fws.gov/northeast/pafo/.
Questions about these changes or bog turtle surveys? Contact Liberty Environmental Project Manager, Teresa Amitrone, Pennsylvania recognized, qualified bog turtle surveyor.