Managing Identified Wildlife:
Procedures and Measures

Volume 1
February 1999

Table of contents

Reptiles

Gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer deserticola)3
Night snake (Hypsiglena torquata)
RACER (Coluber constrictor)4

WHA planning objectives

Maintain denning habitat and dispersal routes.

Wildlife habitat area

Wildlife habitat areas (~1000 m radius) should be established over communal dens. The placement of WHAs should be based on local topography and snake dispersal routes. It is possible that in some locations a communal den may not exist. Instead, the snakes may hibernate in small, isolated groups. Where this occurs, any talus slopes, rock outcrops or cliff habitats identified to be important for the conservation of these species should be considered for WHA designation. Design should try to include suitable egg laying (sandy soils) and foraging (riparian) areas.

GWM management objectives

Minimize disturbance and mortality, particularly road mortality, near snake hibernacula.

Maintain critical structural elements such as wildlife trees, coarse woody debris, rock outcrops and concentrations of boulders.

Minimize disturbance to riparian areas to maintain foraging opportunities.

Maintain microclimatic conditions of hibernacula.

General wildlife measures

These measures must be applied within a WHA approved for the species.

Access

  • Place roads as far as practicable from hibernacula and known snake dispersal routes. Avoid construction between April and October when snakes are active unless the district manager and regional fish and wildlife manager are satisfied there is no other practicable option and the variance is approved by the district manager and regional fish and wildlife manager.
  • Rehabilitate temporary access roads immediately after use.
  • Where determined to be necessary by MELP, use snake drift fences and drainage culverts where known dispersal routes cross roads to divert snakes from high mortality areas. Drift fences should be approximately 50 cm high. Length will vary by site depending on area used by snakes. Consult MELP for more information. Seasonal use restrictions may be appropriate for some roads.
  • Do not remove rock or talus.

Range

  • Do not allow cattle to concentrate (i.e., do not use water troughs, salt blocks, or corrals or drive cattle through WHA) during spring dispersal (March/April) and fall aggregations as specified by MELP.
  • When hay cutting or prescribed burning is planned, consult with MELP for the preferable times (i.e., after snakes have returned to dens).
  • Avoid soil compaction and maintain understorey vegetative structure in riparian areas.

Recreation

  • Do not establish recreation sites within WHA.

Management considerations (not mandatory

Where migration routes from denning locations to summer habitats have been transected by roadways, use methods such as drift fences, culverts or seasonal road restrictions, to allow the safe passage of snakes.

Where possible, provide a 1 km buffer between WHAs and residential development or proposed developments to minimize disturbances. Rock climbing should be considered a disturbance at sensitive sites.

Riparian areas adjacent to WHA should be managed or restored to ensure range foraging habitat is maintained.

Avoid converting areas adjacent to WHA to an early seral grassland condition.

Landscape unit planning considerations (not mandatory)

Follow the seral stage objectives for rangelands as described in Biodiversity Guidebook.

Cross references

Water birch-red-osier dogwood, Ponderosa pine-black cottonwood-Nootka rose-poison-ivy


Rubber boa (Charina bottae)

WHA planning objectives

Maintain denning habitat and dispersal routes.

Wildlife habitat area

Wildlife habitat areas (~1000 m radius) should be established over communal dens. A WHA should include a core area and a buffer. The core area consists of the den plus 30 m radius. The placement of WHAs should be based on local topography and snake dispersal routes. It is possible that in some locations a communal den may not exist. Instead, the snakes may hibernate in small, isolated groups. Where this occurs, any habitats identified to be important for the conservation of these species should be considered for WHA designation.

GWM management objectives

Minimize disturbance and mortality, particularly road mortality, near snake hibernacula.

Maintain critical structural elements such as wildlife trees, coarse woody debris, rock outcrops and concentrations of boulders.

Minimize disturbance to riparian areas to maintain foraging opportunities.

Maintain microclimatic conditions of hibernacula.

General wildlife measures

These measures must be applied within a WHA approved for the species.

Access

  • Do not develop roads or trails within the core area.
  • Place roads as far as practicable from hibernacula and known snake dispersal routes. Avoid construction between April and October when snakes are active unless the district manager and regional fish and wildlife manager are satisfied there is no other practicable option and the variance is approved by the district manager and regional fish and wildlife manager.
  • Rehabilitate temporary access roads immediately after use.
  • Where determined to be necessary by MELP, use snake drift fences and drainage culverts where known dispersal routes cross roads to divert snakes from high mortality areas. Drift fences should be approximately 50 cm high. Length will vary by site depending on area used by snakes. Consult MELP for more information. Seasonal use restrictions may be appropriate for some roads.
  • Do not remove rock or talus.

Range

  • Do not allow cattle to concentrate (i.e., do not use water troughs, salt blocks, or corrals or drive cattle through WHA) during spring dispersal (March/April) and fall aggregations as specified by MELP.
  • When hay cutting or prescribed burning is planned, consult with MELP to specify the preferable times (i.e., after snakes have returned to dens).
  • Avoid soil compaction and maintain understorey vegetative structure in riparian areas.

Recreation

  • Do not establish recreation sites within WHA.

Silviculture

  • Do not harvest or salvage core area. Where possible, incorporate the core area into a wildlife tree patch as per the stand level Biodiversity Guidebook recommendations.
  • Harvest between November and March to minimize disturbance to nesting snakes unless the district manager and regional fish and wildlife manager are satisfied there is no other practicable option and the variance is approved by the district manager and regional fish and wildlife manager.
  • Maintain wildlife trees where safe to do so.

Management considerations (not mandatory

Where migration routes from denning locations to summer habitats have been transected by roadways, use methods such as drift fences, culverts or seasonal road restrictions, to allow the safe passage of snakes.
Where possible, provide a 1 km buffer between WHAs and residential development or proposed developments to minimize disturbances. Rock climbing should be considered a disturbance at sensitive sites.
Riparian areas adjacent to WHA should be managed or restored to ensure foraging habitat is maintained.

Landscape unit planning considerations (not mandatory)

Follow the seral stage objectives for rangelands as described in Biodiversity Guidebook.

Cross references

Water birch-red-osier dogwood, Ponderosa pine-black cottonwood-Nootka rose-poison-ivy

3 Gopher snake species has been split resulting in a change in scientific name.

4 Racer common name changed.


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