36.11.436 SENSITIVE SPECIES
(1) The department recognizes that certain plant and animal species, both terrestrial and aquatic, are particularly sensitive to human activities in managed forests. Populations of such species are usually small and/or declining. Continued adverse impacts from land management activities may lead to their being federally listed as threatened or endangered. Because sensitive species usually have specific habitat requirements, consideration of their needs is recognized as a useful and prudent fine filter for ensuring the department meets the primary goal of maintaining diverse and healthy forests. Considering sensitive species in management actions helps ensure that decisions will be made appropriate to the fundamental philosophy and that additional federal listings will not be necessary.
(a) However, if objective analyses suggest that the underlying ecological forces would produce a distribution of cover types different than those existing, it is appropriate to move toward the historic pattern. Sensitive species considerations for habitat management are not intended to preclude a general move toward historic representation of cover types.
(2) The department shall manage to generally support populations of sensitive species on state trust lands. The department shall accomplish this by managing for site characteristics generally recognized as important for ensuring their long-term persistence. The department may accept localized adverse impacts, but only within the context of an overall strategy that supports habitat capability for these species.
(a) Department staff shall report notable observations of sensitive plant and animal species to the Montana natural heritage program (MNHP) or other appropriate data repository.
(b) Sites identified as important on projects with identified sensitive plant species shall be monitored to assess implementation of mitigation measures. On selected department projects with listed sensitive animal species, periodic follow-up surveys would be conducted to assess how well management actions have provided for site conditions needed to support those populations.Deficiencies would be documented and used to guide future management actions and mitigations.
(3) For sensitive plant species, the department shall protect important sites and/or site characteristics with mitigation measures applied to management activities likely to have substantial long-term impacts. Prior to conducting planned land management activities, the department, at its sole discretion, shall refer to databases maintained by the MNHP, the United States forest service (USFS) and/or other appropriate sources for information on occurrence of plant species of special concern. Where information indicates potential for sensitive plant species and their habitat to occur within project areas, field surveys and/or consultation with other qualified professionals may be required to determine the presence, location, and mitigation measures for sensitive plant species.
sensitive animal species, the department shall provide habitat characteristics
recognized as suitable for individuals to survive and reproduce in situations
where land ownership patterns, underlying biological conditions, and
geographical conditions allow for them. The department's contribution toward
conservation of wide-ranging animal species that occur in low densities and
require large areas to support self-sustaining populations would be supportive
of, albeit subsidiary to, the principal role played by federal agencies with
larger land holdings.
proposed projects, the department shall look for opportunities to provide for
habitat needs of sensitive animal species, primarily through managing for the
range of historically occurring conditions appropriate to the sites. In
blocked ownerships this shall include consideration of such issues as
connectivity and corridors. In scattered ownerships, the department shall not
necessarily commit to providing all the life-requisites of individual members
of sensitive species, particularly if adjacent landowners managed in ways to
limit the potential for individuals on state trust lands to be part of
(6) The forest management
bureau chief shall maintain a list of sensitive animal and fish species
specific to each administrative land office. The department shall develop and
modify this list using information and classification systems developed by the
USFS, USFWS, MNHP and, for fish species only, the FWP. The department shall
use this list at the project level for identifying species appropriate to
consider in project analyses at each administrative area office. The
department shall base listing by land office on general geographic distribution
and habitat affinities of animal species, and would not require site-specific
evidence of presence on state trust lands. Additions to, or deletions from
this list, of any animal not already categorized as sensitive by USFS region
one, or as "fish species of special concern" by FWP, would require
written justification. The department would not routinely conduct site-specific
surveys for the presence of sensitive animal species.
History: 77-1-202, 77-1-209, 77-5-201, 77-5-204, MCA; IMP, 77-5-116, 77-5-204, 77-5-206, 77-5-207, MCA; NEW, 2003 MAR p. 397, Eff. 3/14/03.