In 2005, the Road Commission of Macomb County (RCMC) hired Niswander Environmental to secure an MDEQ wetland permit for the Card Road project. The purpose of the project was to re-establish the road corridor by replacing the existing closed bridge and paving the road to improve safety and stability in this area. Additionally, the RCMC planned to construct a wooden covered bridge over the North Branch of the Clinton River. To offset wetland impacts incurred during project construction, several mitigation options were addressed.
In compliance with the project, Niswander Environmental provided a variety of wetland services, including a complete wetland delineation of the project corridor, permitting, coordination with state and local agencies, and mitigation designed to include three wetlands totaling 1.35 acres with an additional 0.35 acres of in-place wetland restoration.
Final mitigation plans were completed and submitted to the RCMC for approval before being submitted to MDEQ. Niswander Environmental completed construction oversight to ensure for a successful mitigation area.
In addition to the wetland services provided to RCMC, Niswander Environmental conducted a Biological Assessment for the determination of effects of the Card Road project on the federally-endangered Indiana bat and state-threatened wavy-rayed lampmussel.
The Biological Assessment revealed one primary area that contained optimal habitat for the Indiana bat. The proposed project would have affected the summer habitat (i.e. potential roost sites) of the Indiana bat if construction would have commenced during the summer months since removal of trees within the grading limits was required as part of the project. To avoid any potential impact to the Indiana bat, Niswander Environmental recommended that all trees (including potential roost trees) be removed within the proposed grading limits along the proposed project corridor during the winter months when the species does not inhabit the area. These conservative measures were considered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to cause no adverse impact to the Indiana bat as long as other suitable habitat was present within the project area.
The Biological Assessment for the wavy-rayed lampmussel was conducted along the Clinton River at the bridge crossing. The assessment revealed that agricultural activities experienced in the vicinity of the project corridor had severely degraded the river, resulting in habitat that is unsuitable for this species.
Determination of effects reports were completed and submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Michigan Department of Natural Resources to obtain agency clearance. Clearance from both species was obtained in less than a month of submission due to close coordination with agency staff, and the project was allowed to proceed.