In order to replace an existing bridge over Big Creek, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) requested that HMB Professional Engineers, Inc. prepare a Biological Assessment evaluating project impacts to the Indiana bat, Kentucky Arrow Darter, and federally listed mussel species. The project scope of work was coordinated with the KYTC/Division of Environmental Analysis and approved as a Letter Agreement under HMB’s full service Statewide Environmental Contract.
Prior to implementation of field investigations, the KYTC elected to assume presence for the Indiana bat and utilize the 2012 Indiana Bat Programmatic Agreement to account for impacts to summer roosting habitat. The mussel survey conisted of biologists from HMB and Copperhead Environmental Consulting sampling 1000 feet downstream and 700 feet upstream of the existing bridge at 100 foot intervals using a dive/snorkel survey method. A total of 700 meters of Big Creek was actively sampled by backpack electroshocking in order to provide a presence/absence survey for the Kentucky Arrow Darter in accordance with the fish sampling protocol produced by the Kentucky Division of Water (KDOW 2011). Although suitable habitat was present through much of the sampling reach, no live or relic shells of native mussels or individuals of the Kentucky Arrow Darter were encountered. The Biological Assessment was submitted to the KYTC/ Division of Environmental Analysis in February, 2013, for further coordination with the USFWS.