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Environmental Protection and Stewardship Plays Huge Role in New Maryland Toll Road
Northeast Region, November 22, 2011
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Bill Schultz, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stands under  wildlife and fish passage structure at beginning of construction
Bill Schultz, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stands under wildlife and fish passage structure at beginning of construction - Photo Credit: courtesy of InterCounty Connector
Wildlife and fish passage structure during construction
Wildlife and fish passage structure during construction - Photo Credit: Courtesy of InterCounty Connector
Wildlife and fish passage completed. Left to Right:  Mack Frost, Federal Highway Administration; Genevieve LaRouche, Director’s Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Mitch Keiler, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Wildlife and fish passage completed. Left to Right: Mack Frost, Federal Highway Administration; Genevieve LaRouche, Director’s Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Mitch Keiler, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. - Photo Credit: courtesy of InterCounty Connector

The Intercounty Connector, a new six-lane, 18-mile long toll road opened in Maryland on November 22, 2011. This road links growth corridors on I-95 and I-270 and improves mobility and safety in the region. The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) also spent $370 million on environmental mitigation and stewardship to enhance water quality, stream habitat, wildlife and fish passage, and parkland and to mitigate for wetlands and floodplains. Specific environmental features included:

  • Replacement of 718 acres of parkland for the 88 acres impacted
  • Avoidance of 5,400 linear feet of the Northwest Branch in Northwest Branch Stream Valley Park
  • Construction of 5,785 linear feet of bridges over nine floodplains when only 1,560 linear feet of bridges was required for permit issuance
  • Providing wildlife passage with 10 bridges, 4 deer passage box culverts, and 12 small mammal pipes
  • Attachment of a reptile and amphibian barrier fence to the deer fence to prevent all wildlife from accessing the highway
  • Construction of three fish passage projects on two streams with blockages
  • Retrofitting 16 stormwater ponds that control stormwater from 4,350 acres of upland
  • Construction of biotrenches in nine suburban neighborhoods
  • Restoration of 38,000 linear feet of stream to mitigate for an equal length of stream impacts
  • Creation of 44 acres of wetlands to replace 28 acres of wetland impacted
  • Box turtle relocation study and removal of 880 box turtles from the highway right-of-way
  • Construction of a stormwater collection system on two bridges to prevent stormwater from entering two trout streams
  • Construction of underground stormwater infiltration systems at four stream crossings to prevent warm stormwater from entering these systems

Two Chesapeake Bay Field Office biologists, Mitch Keiler and Bill Schultz, were the primary negotiators for replacement the 8 to 1 ratio of parkland. SHA was requested to replace the fragmented forest habitat in the parks bisected by the highway with forested habitat that could be used by forest interior dwelling bird species (FIDS). The biologists asked that this FIDS habitat be protected in perpetuity.

The biologists were also the principal negotiators for a box turtle relocation study and translocation effort, and the deer, reptile and amphibian barrier fences. They mediated selection of wetland replacement sites and stream restoration projects, set the minimum opening size for the deer culverts at 12-foot by 12-foot and were also primary arbitrators for long bridges, stream avoidance, fish passage, and parkland avoidance.

For more information contact:
Mitch Keiler
410/573-4554
mitch_Keiler@fws.gov

Bill Schultz
410/573-4586
bill_schulz@fws.gov


Contact Info: Kathryn Reshetiloff, 410-573-4582, kathryn_reshetiloff@fws.gov



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