Department of Natural Resources: obiter for Columbia County


MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is offering to issue a permit for the incidental take of a rare turtle, which may have resulted from the State Game Farm West Field project in Columbia County. The game farm is located next to the MacKenzie Center near Poynette.

Bycatch refers to the unintentional loss of endangered or threatened animals or plants that does not endanger the overall population of the species.

The DNR is looking to develop an agricultural field on the site of State Game Farm to allow the farm to produce its own straw, thereby reducing budget costs. The project will result in the permanent loss of 20 acres of grassland habitat which will be converted to agriculture.

The presence of the endangered Ornate Box Turtle is confirmed near the Project site. MNR staff have determined that the proposed project may result in the incidental take of some turtles.

The DNR concludes that the proposed project will minimize impacts on the species by adhering to conservation measures, is unlikely to jeopardize the continued existence and recovery of the state’s population of the species or the entire the plant-animal community of which it is a part; and has a public health, safety or welfare benefit that justifies the action.

Conservation measures to minimize adverse effects on endangered species will be incorporated into the proposed incidental take permit. Copies of the danger assessment and general information on the ornate box turtle are available by visiting the MNR Public Bycatch Notices Webpage or upon request to MNR Conservation Biologist Rori Paloski at 608-516-3742 or [email protected].

The public is encouraged to submit written comments regarding Project impacts on the Ornate Box Turtle by April 15, 2022 to:

Department of Natural Resources
c/o Rori Paloski, MNR Conservation Biologist
101 S. Webster St. Madison, WI 53707
[email protected] or 608-516-3742

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