The Illinois and Iowa and Departments of Transportation (DOT), on behalf of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), have applied for an incidental take authorization regarding Illinois state endangered mussel species. The application is based uponpotential impacts resulting from the geotechnical borings in the Mississippi River to aid in the planning for potential improvements to Interstate 80 (I-80). The existing bridge across the Mississippi River is located between Rock Island County, Illinois and Scott County, Iowa.
- The mailing address of the Illinois DOT is2300 Dirksen Parkway, Springfield, Illinois 62764; the mailing address for the Iowa DOT is 800 Lincoln Way, Ames, Iowa 50010.
- The project corridor is located in Sections 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, and 10, Township 78N, Range 05E in Scott County, Iowa and Sections 2, 3, 10, 11, 14, 23, 24, and 26, Township 18N, Range 01E in Rock Island County, Illinois.
- Authorization is being requested for incidental take of the following mussel species due to geotechnical borings in the Mississippi River to aid in the planning for improvements to I-80 across the river: Higgin’s eye, butterfly and monkeyface mussels.
- Measures were taken to minimize the number of geotechnical borings to those necessary to collect adequate and useful data. The project will include up to 36 geotechnical river borings distributed within the study area. All work in the river will be temporary. It is expected after the geotechnical borings are completed, the area will be available for recolonization by all species of mussels.
- Mitigation for the project will consist of having a malacologist identify mussel shells and shell fragments from the top 5 inches of each 4” core. The malacologist will identify the mussel shells and shell fragments, if possible, to the species and identify if the mussels are relict, recently dead, or fresh dead. This information will inform valuable data about the mussels in the area.
- A copy of the Conservation Plan is available for review at the River Valley District Library, Port Byron, Illinois 61275; and the LeClaire Community Library, 323 Wisconsin Street, LeClaire, Iowa 52753. A copy of the Conservation Plan is also available online at:https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/naturalheritage/permits/Pages/Incidental-Take-Authorizations.aspx.
- Comments should be directed to: Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Office of Resource Conservation, IncidentalTake Coordinator, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, Illinois 62702-1271 and/or submitted via e-mail to DNR.ITAcoordinator@illinois.gov.
- The comment period closes 30 days after the final publication of this notice that first appears in the Breeze Courier on May 19, 2022. This notice will also be published in the Quad City Times on May 19, May 26 and June 4, 2022. The final publication is scheduled for June 4, 2022. Therefore, the comment period closes on July 5, 2022.