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United States Department of the Interior
Montana State Office
5001 Southgate Drive
Billings, Montana 59101-4669

April 23, 2009

6840/1610 (MT9230) P 
Instruction Memorandum No. MT-2009-039
Expires: 9/30/2010
To:             Field Managers
From:         State Director
Subject:     2009 Montana/Dakotas Special Status Species List
Program Area: Fish, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation
Purpose:  The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) 6840 Manual (Special Status Species Management) gives the State Director the responsibility for designating the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) sensitive species. The sensitive species designation is used for species requiring special management consideration to promote their conservation and reduce the likelihood and need for future listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
When the revised 6840 Manual was signed by the BLM Director on December 12, 2008, it was transmitted under Instruction Memorandum (IM) No. 2009-039, which directed State Directors to review and revise their current list of the BLM sensitive species in accordance with revised criteria.
This IM transmits a revised sensitive species list for use by the BLM in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota (Attachment 1).
Policy/Action: The BLM Montana/Dakotas offices will use the sensitive species list and the current United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) list of Federally listed species (Attachment 2) in budget planning, project planning, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis, and land use planning. District managers and field managers are responsible for implementing the BLM special status species policies and program within their area of jurisdiction.
1. Budget planning: Develop projects to gather new baseline information, improve or restore habitat, or monitor the condition of habitats and populations after treatments. Incorporate baseline information, habitat restoration, or sensitive species monitoring into project proposals for other resources (e.g., habitat improvement for sensitive plants from fuels treatments.) Linking project feasibility and benefits to sensitive species can improve the chance for funding.
2. The NEPA analysis and compliance: When a project is proposed, the interdisciplinary team should look at the special status species list, Natural Heritage database information, and other information, as appropriate, to determine if sites or habitats of special status species are known to occur or could occur in the project area. If a proposed alternative or project has the potential to positively or negatively affect special status species or their habitat, the impacts should be described and addressed in the NEPA analysis. If the proposed project has the possibility of creating or expanding the habitat for special status species, then the NEPA analysis should address the development of this new habitat and how the project can be designed to further benefit the habitat.  Impacts to Federally listed species or their habitat must be administered as outlined in the 6840 Manual and the Endangered Species Act.
Sensitive Plants
If sensitive plant sites or habitats may be present in the project area, a field inventory should be conducted, prior to the project implementation, at the optimum time of year to determine presence or absence of sensitive species. Mitigation measures should be developed to prevent excessive loss of known plant sites.
3. Land Use Planning: During plan revision, the sensitive species list and USFWS list should be used to define the decisions listed in Appendix C of the Land Use Planning Handbook (H-1601-1), primarily the identification of priority species and habitats and desired future conditions for populations and habitats. Identify protection measures or mitigations to reduce or eliminate the possible impacts on special status species or their habitat.
Federally de-listed species will be designated as the BLM sensitive species for 5 years, or more, for post-listing monitoring. All Federal candidate and proposed species will be designated as the BLM sensitive species. 
This policy applies to native species present on the BLM-administered lands (including split estate lands) whose conservation status can be affected through the BLM management.
Timeframe: This policy is effective immediately.
Budget Impact: None.
Background: The 6840 Manual (Special Status Species Management) was revised in December 2008. This revised manual modified the criteria used to designate the BLM sensitive species. Special status species, collectively, are Federally listed or proposed and the BLM sensitive species, which include both Federal candidate species and delisted species within 5 years of delisting.
Biologists, botanists, and resource specialists in the Montana/Dakotas organization reviewed the 2004 (animal) and 2005 (plant) lists and recommended modification based on the new criteria and additional information collected since the last list update.
The BLM also coordinated with the Montana Natural Heritage Program, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the United States Forest Service, and other BLM offices to determine species to be recommended for the sensitive designation.
Taxonomic changes and species codes of plant species follow the nomenclature in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) plants database, http://www.usda.plants.gov.
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: This IM supersedes previous sensitive species lists. The 6840 Manual should be used as a reference for implementing this IM.
Coordination: All Montana/Dakotas field offices were contacted for input.
Contact: Please contact Nora Taylor, Botanist at (406) 896-5032 or Gayle Sitter, Wildlife Biologist at (406) 896-5024 at the Montana State Office with any questions or comments.
Signed by:                                                                                     Authenticated by:
Gene R. Terland                                                                            Melissa R. Dykes
State Director                                                                                Staff Assistant (MT9230)
2 Attachments

Last updated: 02-28-2013