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Endangered Species

Craig Olawsky, Wildlife Biologist, 605.773.5679

Endangered Species Act

Section 7(a) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 as amended requires Federal agencies to evaluate the impact of their actions on threatened or endangered species, and ensure such actions are "not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of (its) habitat". Furthermore, actions resulting in the "take" of an endangered species are required to minimize the impact of that take thru the implementation of reasonable and prudent measures. Because many transportation projects are partially funded by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and require the obtainment of a federal 404 permit for dredge and fill activities within waterways of the United States, compliance with Section of the ESA is required. Programmatic Biological Opinion was issued to the FHWA and SDDOT by the United State Fish and Wildlife Service in 2004. This document provides guidance for the construction activities impacting endangered species, also mandatory Terms and Conditions are given which are to be implemented at stream crossing projects impacting the Topeka shiner.

Sec 7 Programmatic Biological Opinion

List of Endangered Species Found in South Dakota (FWS)

Section 7 of the Enangered Species Act (FWS)


American Burying Beetle

This species is the largest carrion feeding insect in North America. The American burying beetle is approximately 1-1.4 inches long with a shiny black body that has four orange-red markings. The most identifiable mark is the orange-red marking on the beetle's pronotum. It also has orange facial markings and orange tips on the antennae. Once widely distributed throughout eastern North America, this species has disappeared from most of its historic range. Historical records are located in 32 states, the District of Columbia, and 3 Canadian provinces. This range covers most of the eastern United States and southeastern Canada. Presently isolated American burying beetle populations are known to exist in Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, South Dakota, and Nebraska. The current American burying beetle range presently known in South Dakota includes Gregory, Tripp, and Todd counties.

USFWS Species Profile

Map of known American Burying Beetle Locations in South Dakota (GFP)

Most roadway and stream crossing projects do not impact the American Burying Beetle; however, some projects in Gregory, Tripp, and Todd Counties may affect this species. Impacts to this species are minimized by reducing the project footprint to the minimum practical. Impacts to riparian habitat should be avoided.


Bald Eagle

A white feathered head, neck, and tail are the distinguishing characteristics of the adult bald eagle. The distinguishing adult feathers typically appear at the age of four. The remainder of the eagle plumage is dark brown. The heavy yellow beak and distal one-half to two-thirds of the yellow tarsus are bare of feathers. The bald eagles can be found throughout North America.

Eagles are usually associated with dominant or co-dominant trees in both the nesting and wintering periods. The vast majority of bald eagle nests can be found within one-half mile of water and are rarely located greater than two miles from water. Nests, constructed primarily of sticks with other material added for lining, are almost exclusively found in live trees. Wintering sites consist of very large perch trees that are usually located near open water or in close proximity to other available prey items.

Bald Eagles have nested in Gregory, Brown, Yankton, Bon Homme, Spink, Charles Mix, Union, Robert, Sanborn, Hutchinson, Bennett, Lyman, Marshall, Clay, Minnehaha, Hughes, and Meade Counties in SD. The bald eagle winters regularly in large numbers along the Missouri River from Pierre to Yankton and in scattered locations across the state.

Construction projects located within a half mile of active bald eagle nests may have special provisions to reduce impact or disturbance to the nesting eagles.

USFWS Species Profile

Distribution of Bald Eagle Nests in South Dakota


Topeka Shiner

The Topeka shiner is a small pool dwelling minnow that is found in prairie streams of the lower Missouri River Basin and upper Mississippi River Basin. The range of this fish covers eastern South Dakota, southwest Minnesota, eastern Nebraska, Iowa, northern Kansas, and Missouri. In South Dakota the Topeka shiner has been found in about 40 streams in the James River, Big Sioux River, and Vermillion River Watersheds. The Topeka shiner currently retains its historic distribution and is locally abundant in South Dakota; however, population trends are unclear. Most stream crossing projects constructed in the James River, Big Sioux River, and Vermillion River Basin will impact the Topeka shiner. Special Provisions are required for construction on streams inhabited by or likely to be inhabited by the Topeka shiner.

USFWS Species Profile

Map of Species Distribution

Special Provisions for Construction in Topeka Shiner Inhabited Streams

South Dakota Topeka Shiner Management Plan (GFP)

Topeka Shiner Research

Impact of Culvert Barriers on the Topeka Shiner

Fish Community Survey of Snake Creek


Whooping Crane

At about 5 ft. (1.5 m) tall, Whooping Crane is the tallest bird in North America. Adults are white with black primaries and a bare red face and crown. The bill is olive-gray, eyes are yellow, and legs and feet are gray-black. Immature Whooping Cranes are cinnamon-toned, with some white, and without red on head and face. They are often confused with the Sandhill Crane, the Snow Goose, and the American White Pelican. While in flight, their long necks are kept straight and their dark legs trail behind. Adult Whooping Cranes' black wing tips are visible during flight.

Whooping Cranes breed and nest along lake margins or among rushes and sedges in marshes and meadows. The water in these wetlands is anywhere from 8 to 10 inches to as much as 18 inches deep. Many of the ponds have border growths of bulrushes and cattails, which occasionally cover entire bays and arms of the larger lakes. Nesting has also been reported on muskrat houses and on damp prairie sites. Whooping Cranes prefer sites with minimal human disturbance. Wetlands provide the Whooping Crane with protection from terrestrial predators.

Whooping Cranes tolerate very little human disturbance, especially during nesting, brood rearing, and during flightless molt (May to mid-August). Slight human disturbance is often sufficient to cause adults to desert nests. On wintering grounds, Whooping Cranes will tolerate human disturbance if it is not associated with obvious threats.

USFWS Species Profile and Map

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