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Maine Bulletin No. ME 190-10-5

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    March 22, 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 General Manual Title 190 - Part 410.22 and Maine General Manual Title 180 - Amendment ME20 - Part 409, Section 409.1 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 following procedures will be followed:

Existing Cultivated Cropland, Barnyards and Headquarters - Installation of this interim practice is determined to have "No Effect" on Federal and State protected resources or species of special concern because:

  1. The land affected is already heavily disturbed.
  2. The installation of a high tunnel will involve minimal ground disturbance.
  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 on file from previous consultations with Federal and State regulatory agencies show such criterion results in determinations of "No Effect".

Documentation - 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 the parcel or within one quarter mile of where a 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 a "No Effect" determination is being made. Indicate the justification for the "No Effect" determinations is provided by this bulletin.

Note - If facilitating practices are used (e.g., storage reservoirs, detention basins, and stable outlets) or if the seasonal high tunnel system is placed on areas other than those described above, a separate effects analysis and effects determination will be required at the field level. Complete the effects analysis and determination using Maine NRCS' normal at-risk species and habitats screening and consultation process.

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

/s/ William Yamartino, Acting
 

JUAN C. HERNANDEZ
State Conservationist

The following document requires Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)

Attachment - Season High Tunnel System for Crops - Practice Introduction (.pdf)