N.C. 540 Southeast Extension Moving Forward After Approval of Final Environmental Impact Statement
In April 2016, NCDOT selected the orange-green-mint-green alternative route as the preferred alternative for construction of the N.C. 540 Southeast Extension project. However, many environmentalists expressed concern because this route crosses Swift Creek which contains protected muscle species. Therefore, the project was put on hold. The two species of concern are the federally endangered Dwarf Wedgemussel, as well as the Yellow Lance mussel species, which has been proposed for listing as a protected species.
With these concerns in mind, NCDOT conducted research to better understand and evaluate how this project may affect these species which was presented for a Biological Assessment for the mussels.
After research was conducted, a Final Environmental Impact Statement was created and this Statement was approved last week by The Federal Highway Administration.
At this time, a formal consultation is being held between the Federal Highway Administration and the US Fish and Wildlife Service pertaining to the protected species. The two organizations will be discussing different measures that can be taken to offset the potential negative impacts on these species and could perhaps aid in the recovery of the species.
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