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Modification of proposed Canadian River railway bridge maintenance projectresults incancellation of formal Section 7 consultation process
Southwest Region, March 20, 2007
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John Hughes and Omar Bocanegra of the Arlington Ecological Services Field Office recently negotiated a change in construction methodology that allowed for the cancellation of a formal consultation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE).  The Tulsa District COE initiated formal consultation on January 23, 2007 with the Service for a proposed Section 404 permit issuance to Burlington Northern/Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF).  BNSF had requested the permit to perform maintenance on an existing railway bridge spanning the Canadian River, and initially planned to divert the river channel to accommodate construction machinery in the river bottom.  The COE determined that the project may affect the threatened Arkansas River shiner (ARS), and began formal consultation with the Service.  Due to the relatively narrow construction window proposed by Service staff to avoid disturbance during the spawning season of the ARS, BNSF and their consulting firm, Hanson-Wilson Inc., elected to change their construction method from channel dewatering to the construction of work platforms situated on the bank of the river.  The COE determined that the change in construction technique did not require issuance of a Section 404 permit, and cancelled the consultation with the Service.  The new construction technique is not expected to affect the ARS, and will involve the removal of invasive saltcedar and Russian olive from the construction area to improve ARS habitat quality.  The Service and COE previously completed formal consultation on the construction of a new railway immediately upstream of the current project in February 2004. 

Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov



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