Following the controversy over the removal of bird nests from the golf course cart path tunnels last year, the Somersett Owners Association (SOA) commissioned Rubicon Environmental Consulting to conduct a biological recourses and habitat evaluation survey throughout Somersett. The purpose being “to identify sensitive biological resources that require protection measures during maintenance and disturbance activities to comply with local, state, and federal regulations”. At the February BOD Meeting, the Board accepted their report, which may be accessed via the following link:
Those interested in Somersett’s environmental setting (e.g., climate, hydrology, soils, vegetation, animal species, etc.) complete with maps and pictures, will find the report very interesting. The report further identifies sensitive plant and animal species found within the greater Reno area and whether the habitat for such is found within Somersett. These include:
Plants: 1) Webber’s Ivesia, 2) Steamboat Monkeyflower, and 3) Altered Andesite popcorn Flower
Animals: 1) North American Wolverine, 2) Cui ui – a large sucker fish, 3) Lahontan Cutthroat Trout, 4) Townsends Big-eared Bat, and 5) Osprey
So what does this mean for Somersett? Actually nothing, as field assessments (described within the report) did not identify any suitable habitats within Somersett for the above or any other sensitive species.
The report also contains a recommendation for conducting nesting bird surveys and to perform maintenance activities outside of the migratory bird nesting season (March through August), this to comply with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Note: The Migratory Bird Treaty Act 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. The migratory bird species protected by the Act are listed in 50 CFR 10.13.
How this Act applies to SOA maintenance activities is unclear. Perhaps the bird nests removed from the golf cart tunnels were listed in the 50 CFR 10.13 regulation. Any ornithologists out there care to comment?