Yikes: Planned $1.2 Million Bike Trail in Illinois Will Run Through Endangered Rattlesnake Area, $25,000 More Being Spent to Figure Out Problem
Posted By Vicki McClure Davidson on March 21, 2011
I have tremendous respect for rattlesnakes. In Arizona, we have quite a few slithering about. As does much of the US. A $1.2 million bicycle path that the city of Wheeling, Illinois plans to build runs straight through the habitat of the endangered eastern massasauga rattlesnake.
On top of the million-dollar price tag for the city to build the bike path, which seems capricious during these economically troubled times, another $25,000 has been approved to be spent on studying the problem and what to do about the snakes. No one knows exactly how many snakes are living in the bike path area, as they are still in hibernation.
The name massasauga means “great river-mouth” in the Chippewa language. I would have thought it meant “expensive government screw-up.”
From St. Louis Today, Bike trail will run through rattlesnake habitat:
The site selected for a Chicago-area bike-pedestrian path is adjacent to a nest of now-hibernating eastern massasauga rattlesnakes.
The city of Wheeling is planning to build a paved bike and pedestrian path from the Des Plaines River to an Interstate 294 overpass. The path, to cost $1.2 million, will connect with other bicycle paths in the area. Construction will start in spring 2012 and wrap up that fall. Until then, several state agencies are deciding what to do about the snakes. The Wheeling Village Board recently hired an environmental consultant for about $25,000 to study the area.
Because the eastern massasauga rattlesnake, which is poisonous, is endangered in Illinois, Wheeling will need a special permit to construct the path.
“It’s assumed the project will have an adverse effect on the snake’s habitat,” said Steven, who is in charge of the environmental study. “What we’ll have to do is minimize the impact.”
Rauch said he’s not sure how many snakes are now in the forest preserve areas north and south of the proposed bike path, but he’s sure they’re there.
From Daily Herald, Endangered rattlesnake in Wheeling bike path’s way:
Tucked near Dundee Road are hibernating eastern massasauga rattlesnakes waiting for spring.
Don’t tell them about the bike path coming next year.
Wheeling is planning to build a paved bike and pedestrian path along Dundee Road, from the Des Plaines River east to the I-294 overpass, that will connect with other bicycle paths in the area. Construction will start in spring 2012 and wrap up that fall.
Until then, a whole bunch of state agencies are deciding what to do about the snakes. The Wheeling Village Board recently hired an environmental consultant for about $25,000 to study the area.
While the snakes aren’t the main object of the study, they are certainly a part of it, said Steven Rauch, an environmental services manager for Hey and Associates Inc. in Volo., who is in charge of study and said it will look at wetlands in the area.