Road delays: for the birds: County, township road projects delayed to prevent harm to any bird habitatStutsman County and one of its townships ran afoul of fowl while attempting to raise water-afflicted roads recently. “The birds basically have more rights than we do, but they don’t pay any taxes,” said Dave Schwartz, Stutsman County commissioner.
By: Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun
Stutsman County and one of its townships ran afoul of fowl while attempting to raise water-afflicted roads recently.
“The birds basically have more rights than we do, but they don’t pay any taxes,” said Dave Schwartz, Stutsman County commissioner.
The county was briefly stymied in its efforts to raise Stutsman County Road 39 by the piping plover, a small shorebird on the endangered species list.
The grade raising, known as the Stink Lake project, would raise a portion of Stutsman County Road 39, also known as Old Highway 10, west of Medina.
The project was originally intended to be complete last fall, but it took a while to get through all the departments of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is providing funds for the grade raise, said Jerry Brickner, Stutsman County’s applicant agent for FEMA.
The area of the grade raise was once an alkalized slough, with a beach that was once designated as a habitat for the piping plover. Since 1993, water has risen, eliminating both the beaches and the alkalization, Brickner explained.
However, the place was still listed as possible habitat of the piping plover when the project was approved April 24. County officials thought that approval meant it was okay to go ahead with the project.
Work began June 14 but was disrupted briefly over the possibility of plover.
“We had to hire a biologist out of Bismarck that came out Monday morning (June 18) and assessed the site and found out there was no piping plovers where the road was at,” Schwartz said.
Had a piping plover actually been found, work would have been shut down.
Getting the environmental consultant cost Stutsman County approximately $750.
Meanwhile, Rose Township, located in the center of the eastern border of Stutsman County, experienced its own bird-related problem when trying to raise the grade on a township road coming out of Clementsville.
The township wanted to take clay from Conservation Reserve Program land to build up the road. But concerns over possible duck habitat meant the township had to put the project on hold for three weeks or a month, said Tim Ames, a Rose County supervisor.
The grade raise has since gone ahead as planned.
“We were all standing right there with the equipment in the grass (when) oop, can’t do it because of the birds’ nests that were out there,” Ames said.
The delay didn’t cost the township any extra money, he added.
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can
be reached at 701-952-8453
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