Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Project development

Environmental process | Environmental review

Fish and Wildlife


The purpose of the fish and wildlife coordination is to ensure that the state conserves, maintains, and manages fisheries and wildlife resources, minimizes effects of development on aquatic and terrestrial wildlife and habitats, and re-establishes aquatic and terrestrial habitats after construction.

Early identification of potential impacts to State and Federally protected fish and wildlife allows MnDOT to coordinate with State (e.g. MNDNR) and Federal (e.g. USFWS) agencies to avoid, minimize, and mitigate potential impacts. These coordination efforts may allow the incorporation of avoidance and minimization measures into project designs and schedules and ensure timeliness of project delivery.

When to use this subject

Whenever a project impacts public waters or public water wetlands, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR) Public Waters Work Permit Program applies. The permit may include avoidance, minimization, and mitigation for fisheries and wildlife resources.

The federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) applies whenever a project impacts protected bird species. With the exception of house sparrows, pigeons, and starlings, bird species that live in Minnesota are protected. You must obtain a depredation permit from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to destroy active nests.  Depending on the species, the typical nesting season is from approximately May 1 to August 15. You may also need a MNDNR permit to impact bird species protected under state law.

Some common transportation-related activities that affect protected birds include but are not limited to:

  • Building structure maintenance and demolition
  • Bridge painting
  • Bridge rehabilitation
  • Bridge construction
  • Mowing and haying
  • Shrub and tree clearing

The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA) applies whenever a project may impact bald or golden eagles. The act protects both occupied and unoccupied nests. You will need to obtain a permit from the USFWS to destroy or disturb bald or golden eagles. Construction activities in close proximity (about 330 feet) of a nest may require a permit depending on the timing and scope of proposed activities.

Some common transportation-related activities that may impact eagles include:

  • Road and bridge construction within 330 feet of a nest
  • Tree and shrub clearing within 330 feet of nests or known roosts
  • Nest tree clearing at any time of the year (will require a permit)

See the guidance for Threatened and Endangered Species—Federal and Threatened and Endangered Species—State for more information. For specific process information, see the process, other guidance pages and/or contact the individuals on the contacts page.

How this subject fits into the overall project development process

In all cases, initiate MN DNR and MnDOT Protected Species Program review using the Early Notification Memo (ENM) and complete review by the time the environmental document is finished.

Organizations involved