Wildlife Protection Commitments
Several measures are planned to ensure that the project minimizes long-term impacts to vegetation and wildlife, including:
- Temporarily disturbed areas will be restored and seeded using a native seed mix
- Construction staging will avoid impacts to active nests of migratory birds included in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service list of migratory birds
- Vegetation clearing will only occur outside of nesting season
- Other measures will be taken to avoid impacts to migratory birds including the removal of inactive nests prior to the breeding season
Federal Threatened and Endangered Species Overview
The SH 45SW project team evaluated the project area to determine if any threatened or endangered species would be impacted by the project. The results of this evaluation are below:
Surveys were conducted during the environmental study to determine if Golden-cheeked warblers, an endangered songbird species that nests only in central Texas, are present in the project area. No Golden-cheeked warblers were found during the survey, and no habitat known to be used by the species is present within the right-of-way.
SH 45SW lies outside of the known ranges of all endangered karst invertebrates. Karst invertebrates are beetles, spiders and scorpion-like animals that are specially adapted to living underground. They typically spend their entire lives in caves.
No habitat for the endangered Austin Blind or Barton Springs Salamanders is present within or adjacent to project right-of-way. SH 45SW will achieve a highway runoff total suspended solids (TSS) removal rate of at least 90 percent (10 percent higher than required by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) to protect potential salamander habitats downstream from the project.
Other Endangered Species
No habitat for the endangered Black-capped Vireo is present in the right-of-way. The Texas Horned Lizard is scarce in the area, and no highly suitable habitat for the Lizard is present in the right-of-way.
Wildlife Movement Corridors
The bridge at Bear Creek will utilize a wide-span structure that allows for safe and dry wildlife movement and preservation of native vegetation under the bridge. Additionally, the bridge over Feature 55 will allow for safe small mammal crossing.