Caltrans State Route 24 Storm Damage Repair-Project Spotlight
Gallaway Enterprises recently finished biological monitoring on the on Caltrans State Route 24 Storm Damage Repair Project in Contra Costa County, just west of the City of Orinda. The purpose of the project was to repair storm water damage at two locations along the highway. The project involved the repair of a sinkhole around a riser and drainage inlet and storm damage repair of 0.53 acre saturated portion of the hillside to prevent it from slipping into the highway. Gallaway Enterprises provided onsite daily monitoring for 52 days to fulfill all the terms and conditions of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Opinion, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Incidental Take Permit, and Caltrans Specifications. Target species for the project included California red-legged frogs, Alameda whipsnakes, and nesting migratory birds.
The project was located in a coastal scrub/chaparral setting within the Berkeley Hills. The project occurred in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife designated critical habitat for the Alameda whipsnake. Alameda whipsnakes are sleek swift snakes that can reach a length of five (5) feet. They are good climbers and commonly move through brush and trees to avoid predation and capture prey. Wildlife exclusion fencing was used to keep snakes from entering the job site and to allow snakes trapped in the work area to escape. Although no Alameda whipsnakes were observed, many other snake species, including ringneck snakes, garter snakes, gopher snakes, and king snakes were relocated out of the project boundary or escaped via one-way doors installed in exclusion fencing. Deer, skunks, and turkeys were also flushed from the project boundary, and a large yellow jacket nest on the slide repair area was eradicated, so that construction activities could continue. Gallaway Enterprises coordinated with Caltrans and the contractor to assure the project stayed compliant with all permits, there was no take of listed species, exclusion devices remained functional, and the project was completed on schedule.