HDD Benefits Project in Area of Endangered Snake Species

Crews installing a new waterline in an Ohio community have the added challenge of not disturbing the endangered Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake, but the use of directional drilling is helping the effort

HDD Benefits Project in Area of Endangered Snake Species

(Photo from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

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A waterline installation in Ohio is one of the latest projects to benefit from the minimal environmental disruption that horizontal directional drilling allows.

This time the concern is an endangered species of rattlesnake. The Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake lives in shallow wetlands and adjacent uplands of portions of the Midwest and Northeast, even stretching into Ontario, Canada. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has the snake listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act, but a majority of the populations are in Ontario and Michigan. In Ohio, where the snake can be found in only about nine counties, the animal has an “endangered” classification.

A $15 million waterline project in Warren, Ohio, stretching a half-mile recently got underway, and a study by a herpetologist identified three sites in the work zone where the snake may live or travel. A herpetologist will be on site when construction activity occurs in these possible habitat areas to ensure any rattlesnakes are properly protected, though the study did note that using horizontal directional drilling to install the waterline will greatly reduce the chances of a possible disturbance.

“The herpetologist will assure if the snake is encountered, that no one harms it and it is allowed to slither away,” Trumbull County deputy sanitary engineer Gary Newbrough told the Tribune Chronicle. “I’ve worked on 40 projects in the county since 1999, this is the first time we’ve had to do this amount of due diligence.”

Source: Tribune Chronicle


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