Location: Patterson, LA
As part of the
permitting process for a new pipeline installation, the US Fish and Wildlife
Service and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries requested that
our client mitigate for any losses to the Louisiana Black Bear critical habitat
that may arise from the construction and operation of the new pipeline.
The Louisiana Black Bear can be found
throughout the Atchafalaya Basin and is a federally protected species.
Certain habitat types that are essential to
the species' existence are deemed Critical Habitat by the US Fish and Wildlife
Service, and the proposed project was traversing through such an area.
The first step in addressing the wildlife agencies
concerns was to survey the area, classify the habitat types, and assess the
A Louisiana Black Bear
den tree survey and a vegetation survey were conducted.
MPH identified several potential den trees
and was able modify the proposed pipeline route accordingly to avoid impacting
all but one tree.
Even though impacts to
den trees and potential den trees were almost completely avoided, the project
would still result permanent and temporary critical habitat loss.
MPH was then tasked with
proposing a plan that restores and improves the habitat within the project
Limiting habitat features were
identified and incorporated into our plan.
The two key issues were recognized were the lack of hard mast species
and the potential for invasive species establishment.
MPH presented a plan that addressed both of
The plan stated that
approximately 14,153 hard mast and fruit producing tree seedlings would be
planted in areas that were cleared and would not be maintained.
These areas were mostly temporary
seedlings were planted, the client would then provide invasive species control
for three years.
The plans were approved, permits issued, and project was
able to move forward.
MPH was then
tasked with coordinating the habitat restoration and improvement portion of the
permit (i.e. planting the trees).
evaluating the available contractors, it was evident that MPH was best equipped
to handle the task of sourcing and planting the seedlings.
With the temporary addition of a 40-foot
refrigerated trailer, MPH was able to source, secure and store oak, persimmon,
and mulberry seedlings and prepare for the upcoming planting season.
A total of 14,271 seedlings were planted in 8 days by an
average of 7 people per day.
averaged an impressive 446 seedlings per person per day.
An amphibious marsh buggy was required to
access a portion of the area to be planted.
Because of the consideration and intensity by the people involved, the
planting was completed ahead of the anticipated schedule.