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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Selection of High Speed Rail Route Avoids Critical Habitat for Endangered Dragonfly

Region 3, January 8, 2013
The endnagered Hine's emerald dragonfly gets a helping hand.
The endnagered Hine's emerald dragonfly gets a helping hand. - Photo Credit: n/a

The Federal Railroad Administration issued a Record of Decision for the Chicago to St. Louis High-Speed Rail Program (http://www.idothsr.org/pdf/rod/tier_1_executed.pdf) on December 18, 2012. The Record of Decision identifies the preferred alignment for additional future passenger rail improvements between Chicago and St. Louis and presents the FRA decisions, determinations, and findings on the proposed program. The Preferred Alternative is located on the Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Rock Island District route between Chicago and Joliet.

 

A proposed alternative route (Alternative 2) that was not selected would have gone through designated critical habitat for the federally endangered Hine’s emerald dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana), and train traffic would have had the potential to take adult dragonflies. The Chicago Ecological Services Field Office has been involved in environmental review of the projects for over 13 years and had raised concerns about this alternative early on in the process. Several reasons were provided in the Record of Decision for eliminating Alternative 2 including a “higher potential for environmental impacts.” The Chicago Office is pleased with the Federal Railroad Administration’s decision and supports the concept of alternative travel options in the region that minimize impacts to the environment through decreased emissions while also avoiding impacts to endangered species.

Contact Info: Kristopher Lah, (847) 381-2253 ext.15, Kristopher_Lah@fws.gov