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MAINE BULLETIN NO. ME 190-10-3


January 11, 2010
 

Subject: ECS – Effects of Seasonal High Tunnel for Crops (Code 798) on Federal and
State At-risk Species and Habitats

Purpose. To provide and document a determination for the Seasonal High Tunnel for Crops Interim Practice Standard (Code 798) for effects on Federal and State threatened and endangered species, protected habitats, and other identified species of concern.

Expiration Date. September 30, 2010

Background. The National (GM-190-410.22) and Maine (GM-180-Amendment, ME-20) policies describe the evaluation of the effects NRCS conservation practice standards have on Federal and State protected species, habitats and other identified species of concerns. The determinations are made and justified on the ME-ECS-1 form, and documented on the ME-CPA-52 form.

The justifications for a “No Effect” determinations are the following:

  1. The practice is to be applied to existing cultivated cropland so the existing land use will not change.
  2. The installation of a high tunnel will involve minimal ground disturbance, will extend the growing season and the practice will not change crop management.
  3. This practice may increase adjacent water quality by reducing the transport of nutrients, pesticides and sediments from the area covered by the high tunnel.
  4. Administrative records from previous consultations with Federal and State regulatory agencies are on file that indicates such criterion has resulted in determinations of “No Effect”.

If facilitating practices are used (e.g., storage reservoirs, detention basins, and stable outlets), these practices will require a separate effect analysis and effect determinations at the field level.

To ensure we are following NRCS policy when Federal and State threatened and endangered species, protected habitats, and other species of concern are located on or within one quarter mile of Seasonal High Tunnel System for Crops Interim Standard Practice will be installed, the District Conservationist acting as the Responsible Federal Official must document the following:

  1. On Page 1, Step 3(a) of the ME-ECS-1 form, check the “NO” box.
  2. Document in the space provided under Step 3(a) the Federal or State species and or habitats for which “No Effect” determinations are being made and the justification for the “No Effect” determinations are provided in this bulletin.

Contact. Jeff Norment, Biologist at 207-990-9571 or email jeff.norment@me.usda.gov.

/s/ Juan C. Hernandez

JUAN C. HERNANDEZ
State Conservationist