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Wildlife Protection


Endangered Species

Congress passed the Endangered Species Action (ESA) in 1973. The purpose of the ESA is to protect endangered species and their habitats. The ESA is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The ESA applies protections to help the endangered species recover. More information on the ESA can be found at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service link below:
https://www.fws.gov/endangered/laws-policies/index.html

There are 21 endangered species listed in Oklahoma. The species that is most frequently encountered during turnpike construction is the American Burying Beetle (The ABB) is a large reddish-black beetle that inhabits tallgrass prairies, woodlands, and forests. Loss of habitat is causing the decline of the ABB. More information on the ABB’s lifecycle and habits can be found at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s website: https://www.wildlifedepartment.com/wildlife/nongamespecies/invertebrates/american-burying-beetle

The OTA includes Special Provision 656 with all projects that take place in the ABB habitat. This special provision requires contractors to cease earthwork between May 20 and September 20 whenever an ABB is encountered.

Migratory Birds

The Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act (FMBTA) was passed in 1918. The FMBTA is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. According to the USFWS, the FMBTA “makes it illegal for anyone to take, possess, import, export, transport, sell, purchase, barter, or offer for sale, purchase, or barter, any migratory bird, or the parts, nests, or eggs of such a bird except under the terms of a valid permit issued pursuant to Federal regulations.” More information on the FMBTA can be found at the following USFWS link:
https://www.fws.gov/birds/policies-and-regulations/laws-legislations/migratory-bird-treaty-act.php

Cliff swallows and barn swallows are small colonial nesting birds that are covered under the FMBTA. Cliff swallows and barn swallows often nest under bridges. Prior to any bridge construction, OTA requires engineers to evaluate whether or not a contractor’s proposed activities could pose a disruption to nesting birds. The OTA includes a note requiring protection of the swallow nests. The note concludes with the following requirement:

IF THE PROPOSED WORK WILL HARM ANY NESTING BIRDS, THE BRIDGE MAY BE NETTED PRIOR TO APRIL 1, OR THE WORK DELAYED UNTIL THE NESTING SEASON IS COMPLETE.

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