Reference

Bill Branch, 410-545-8626

Maryland State Highway Administration

Project Highlights

  • Hydrologic Monitoring
  • Bog Turtle Biological Assessment Report Preparation and Agency Coordination
  • Bog Turtle Habitat Management Plan

Project Details

pic_proj_hampstead

The Hampstead Bypass is a 4.2 mile relocation of MD 30 around the town of Hampstead, MD. During the planning stages of the project, the federally and state threatened bog turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) was discovered within two emergent wetlands within the bypass project limits. Detailed studies were then undertaken by others to document the size of the bog turtle population and to model the potential project effects on the turtles and on hydrology that supports the turtle wetlands.

CRI was brought on to the project to monitor the hydrologic instrumentation and to serve as lead consultant during the Section 7 Endangered Species Act consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Hydrologic Monitoring

CRI staff was responsible for the pre-construction monitoring of all Hampstead Bypass hydrologic instrumentation used in the modeling of groundwater and surface runoff to determine potential effects on the hydrology of the bog turtle wetlands. Monitoring includes downloading automated groundwater piezometers and deep wells, stream gages, and rainfall gages on a monthly basis. All instruments were maintained regularly, and data summarized and graphed for submittal to the project hydrologist.

Biological Assessment

Because of our extensive expertise in rare, threatened, and endangered species issues, CRI was brought into the project to coordinate with the USFWS in the Section 7 Endangered Species Act consultation process. CRI assimilated the many studies completed on bog turtle distributions, population sizes, and movements; hydrologic and hydraulic modeling; and water quality, and discussed the potential effects of the proposed highway project on these attributes of the bog turtle natural history. CRI also assisted the Maryland SHA and Federal Highway Administration during the consultation process with the USFWS and Maryland Department of Natural Resources culminating in a successful Biological Opinion.

Bog Turtle Management Plan

One of the conditions of the USFWS Biological Opinion was the preparation of a bog turtle habitat management plan that would be implemented prior to construction of the highway, which would serve as a long term management plan for the bog turtles within the project area. CRI was a member of the habitat management plan preparation team and assisted with the development of a draft plan for review by the USFWS. CRI also worked with others on the team to hold a public workshop to solicit input on the plan from adjacent property owners. The plan was accepted by the USFWS prior to construction of the bypass.  As part of the Habitat Management Plan implementation, CRI assisted with habitat assessments and mapping and wildlife surveys.