All developers are aware of the dreaded bog turtles. However, there may be some that are unaware of endangered plants located in our area. The serpentine barrens are distinctive terrains located in our area that are underlain by the rock serpentinite. These barren areas consist of sparse, grassy vegetation with scattered trees. In addition, they consist of uncommon plants in Pennsylvania.
A Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory (PNDI) will have to be conducted if your project requires it. You may be subject to a hit from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) if your project is located within or near this terrain. The DCNR will then issue a list of the potential plants that could exist on the property which include the Serpentine Aster, Annual Fimbry, etc. If so, the next step would be to hire a biologist to survey the property to determine whether the listed plant species exist on the property. This may sound like an issue that can easily be resolved; however, the plants can only be identified during their flowering times. The flowering times range from about a five-month period all the way down to a two-month period. Some species have flowering times during the months of August and September which could cause significant delays in construction.
The DCNR will issue a clearance letter if they determine that the plant species of concern do not exist on the property. If they are identified on the property within the proposed ground disturbance area, then the DCNR will simply remove them from the property prior to construction. If they are identified on the property outside of the ground disturbance area, then the DCNR will ask the property owner to be involved in a habitat management plan to protect the plants.
Please contact D.L Howell to determine whether a PNDI will need to be performed for your property and we’ll be glad to assist you.