Yikes: Planned $1.2 Million Bike Trail in Illinois Will Run Through Endangered Rattlesnake Area, $25,000 More Being Spent to Figure Out Problem « Frugal Café Blog Zone

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 on March 21, 2011

A planned $1.2 million bike path in Illinois runs right through the habitat of the endangered eastern massasauga rattlesnake

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.

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I'm a conservative frugalist. My priorities: Watchdogging the government, making sure our tax dollars are spent wisely, living within our budgets (at home and in Washington, DC), and adhering to our Constitution and the conservative principles upon which it was developed by our founding fathers. Also, loving God, my family, and my country. Be wise, be frugal. God bless America!      

Comments

7 Responses to “Yikes: Planned $1.2 Million Bike Trail in Illinois Will Run Through Endangered Rattlesnake Area, $25,000 More Being Spent to Figure Out Problem”

  1. Janet T. says:

    Obviously somebody didn’t do a proper envirnomental impact study before this path was planned or the path would have been placed away from the endangered snake habitat.

    The funding for this bike path comes from the mid 90’s when there was lots of grant money available. It takes years and years between the planning and implementation of any municipal project (my husband is town board president of our little village and is in year 3 of a sewer project and the grant applications haven’t even been written yet). $25,000 consultation fee?! Wow, I’m moving to Chicago!

    Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnakes are very different from your Arizona Diamondbacks and Sidewinders, they are very non agressive, a lot smaller, and very difficult to find. I have looked for them in prime Southern Indiana habitat for over 25 years and have yet to find one.

    • admin says:

      Cool info on the Eastern Massasauga rattler, Janet — I meant to read more about it this morning, but time got away from me. You’ve now piqued my curiosity. I thought it was a beautiful snake in the photo at the top.

      Many moons ago, I worked at an environmental engineering firm and we performed the entire EA study for a major construction project in Phoenix. It only took 12-18 or months for the completion of the EA, if memory serves me. Included all data collection/analysis/appraisals of endangered flora and fauna, as well as research going back more than a century for USTs, Indian burial grounds, underground aquifers, etc. So for the funding of this million-dollar bike path to take nearly two decades to come to fruition and then for city officials to SUDDENLY discover that — OH, MY — this is the habitat of endangered snakes, which just also happen to be poisonous snakes, is beyond odd/incompetent to me. Must be Illinois, eh? Or just government in general… sigh.

      Regarding your “move to Chicago” for a “$25,000 consultation fee” — amen to that, girl! I’m with ya on that one.

      • Janet T. says:

        Government in general. Here in Indiana it happens all too often. As an example — a state highway was being widened from 2 lanes to 4. They got about halfway done and suddenly went “oops, wetland.” It took them almost 3 months and hundreds of thousands of my tax money trying to figure out how to avoid the wetland. Derrr.

  2. Mike says:

    Up in Western North Carolina, a bridge project is being held up because there might possibly have been an Indian village or encampment there. It’s where the East and West forks of the Tuckaseigee Rivers meet. My brother’s boss, who probably has one of the largest Indian artifacts collections outside of the Smithsonian, said the best way they could preserve the site was to build the darn bridge over it. No telling how much money has been spent on fencing and other site protections. Every year when Brother tills up his garden area, he finds arrow heads and pieces of pottery shards.

    • admin says:

      That is sooo cool (finding the arrow heads and pottery in his garden, that is), but don’t let the government know he has them, because BIA or any other agencies could get petulant and fine him, or who knows what else. Regarding the bridge, spot-on observation. The government frequently will spend a dollar to save a dime.

    • Janet T. says:

      We do too. Interesting too, because our house is not near very near water or on any known Native American trail.

      I strongly support trying to save every native artifact, known village, encampment, and do everything possible to save all the habitat that we can. But governments can blow things so way out of proportion and waste our money, and it drives me crazy.

  3. Mike says:

    Heck, everybody up there finds artifacts like that when they till up their garden areas. I need to take a picture of the site at the bridge and post it.