Insights

Regulatory Alert: Critical Habitat for the Rufa Red Knot (Calidris canutus rufa)

At a Glance

Today, the US Fish and Wildlife Service published a proposed rule designating critical habitat for the Rufa Red Knot (Calidris canutus rufa) in the Federal Register (86 FR 37410). The link to the announcement is here:

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/07/15/2021-14406/endangered-and-threatened-wildlife-and-plants-designation-of-critical-habitat-for-rufa-red-knot

This designation may affect projects in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia,
North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. In total, approximately 649,066 acres (ac) are proposed critical habitat in 120 units (18 of which are further subdivided into 46 subunits).

Rufa red knots are champion migratory specialists, with some individuals flying more than 9,300 miles each spring, from their wintering grounds in South America to the tundra in the central Canadian Arctic to breed. They reverse the route in the fall, returning to the southern hemisphere and some locations as far south as Tierra del Fuego on the southern tip of South America. The designated critical habitat units encompass some of the most important stopover locations in the US, including the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Coastal areas, where horseshoe crabs come ashore in great numbers to spawn. The knots rely on horseshoe crab eggs as an important, high energy food source to rebuild their body fat stores to complete their migration. There are draft maps in the proposed rule showing the proposed designation units.  

GZA’s wildlife biologists are experts in conducting rare species assessments in support of Section 7 consultations for numerous development projects. GZA has extensive knowledge of migratory, threatened and endangered, and avian species of concern. We have demonstrated ability to field identify avian species, assess potential impacts to avian species, develop mitigation options, and coordinate with regulatory agencies (i.e., USFWS and local and state wildlife agencies). Our areas of expertise include species and habitat surveys, analyzing impacts, performing avoidance/minimization/mitigation plans, and obtaining appropriate permits.

GZA offers the following services for avian assessments:

  • Avian impact assessment and evaluation
  • Avian habitat clearance
  • Avoidance and minimization strategies
  • Incidental take permits (Section 10 permits)
  • Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs)
  • Candidate Conservation Agreements (CCAs)
  • Mitigation plans
  • Monitoring programs
  • Habitat management/enhancement
  • Biological Assessments

 

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