There has been an increase in awareness of declining bat populations across the U.S. Many of California’s agencies are increasing and standardizing their requirements for protecting bats and their roosts. Gallaway Enterprises has been closely following these changes and responding by implementing scientifically appropriate and creative solutions for bat avoidance, exclusion, and mitigation techniques. Gallaway Enterprises is using the latest version of SonoBat acoustic bat detection software to aid in the process of identifying which bat species are present at many of our project sites. SonoBat software can determine species by analyzing calls that have been recorded by our biologists.
Gallaway Enterprises bat specialists stayed busy in 2018 with several bridge replacement and retrofit projects that had large bat maternity colonies roosting within the bridges. Two particularly challenging projects this year were the East Hill Road over Davis Creek Bridge Replacement project in Mendocino County and the Mockingbird Road over Robinson Creek Bridge Replacement project in Lake County. Structure- or bridge-roosting bats were not identified as a species with potential to occur on either project, but were discovered incidentally by Gallaway Enterprises during pre-construction surveys. One bridge was home to a large maternity colony and the other was a bat bachelor roost. Working closely with the contractors, local agencies, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), Gallaway Enterprises developed avoidance and minimization measures and a plan for temporary and permanent roost mitigation. For these projects, time was of the essence. Gallaway Enterprises worked quickly to develop the mitigation measures and start consultation with CDFW to ensure minimal construction delays. Measures developed were project-specific and included construction of noise attenuation devices, acoustic and visual monitoring during pile driving, visual disturbance buffers, and the installation of bat exclusion devices to safely and humanely evict bats outside of the maternity season. Gallaway Enterprises bats specialists conducted compliance monitoring and installed exclusion devices at the bridges during the appropriate exclusion windows.
Lastly, Gallaway Enterprises worked with stakeholders to design and construct bat roosting habitat that mimics the pre-project roost temperatures in order to attract a wide arrange of bat species to mitigate the loss of roosting habitat. Boxes were a mix of wooden and concrete design and were strategically mounted to the new bridge structures, as well as, poles around the sites.
Construction activities are in full swing on Phase 1 of the Caltrans Interstate 80 and State Route 65 Interchange Project (Project). The Project is located within Placer County in the cities of Roseville and Rocklin, near the Roseville Galleria. Flatiron Construction is the primary contractor responsible for widening the northbound viaduct of State Route 65, as well as the Galleria Boulevard/Stanford Ranch Road ramps. The scale of this Project is impressive with 13-foot wide and 100-foot deep holes being drilled for the viaduct column footings. In order to construct the columns, Flatiron Construction is temporarily diverting Antelope Creek that flows under the viaduct.
Gallaway Enterprises is providing environmental compliance services for Flatiron Construction as this project involves several environmental issues involving multiple state and federal agencies. Gallaway Enterprises is conducting migratory bird and bat surveys, providing relocation of sensitive native fish species and western pond turtles, and providing recommendations during the installation of the temporary stream diversion and water quality monitoring. A Biological Resource Information Program, Natural Resource Protection Plan, Species Protection Survey Protocol, Bat Avoidance Plan, and Bird Exclusion Plan have been prepared for the Project by Gallaway Enterprises to help ensure this Project is successfully completed while maintaining compliance.
Harbin Hot Springs Resort, once home to nearly 300 residents and employees, has been closed since the Valley Fire evacuation orders in September 2015. The resort community, just minutes outside of Middletown, found itself in the path of the fire and suffered major losses as the majority of the structures present onsite were destroyed.
The timber bridge over Harbin Creek that connects the Harbin Hot Springs Resort to Middletown was burned in the fire, and a temporary bridge was constructed in its place. A new bridge was slated for construction by Bridgeway Civil Constructors in July of 2017. Just before construction was to begin, the foothill yellow-legged frog was listed as a candidate threatened species under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA), giving it full protected status for the duration of its review period and halting construction. Harbin Creek contains a healthy and sustainable population of foothill yellow-legged frog. Though foothill yellow-legged frog populations in Lake County are not in danger of extirpation, the foothill yellow-legged frogs present in Harbin Creek now needed the added protections of a threatened species.
Gallaway Enterprises worked fast to create a frog relocation plan and obtain an emergency Incidental Take Permit in order to get the project underway as soon as possible. The delayed construction led to long hours and weekends building the new bridge, and Gallaway Enterprises biologists were onsite daily to relocate frogs, monitor for environmental compliance, and conduct water quality testing within Harbin Creek. The completed Harbin Springs Road Bridge will contribute to the economic recovery of the area as Harbin Hot Springs Resort continues to rebuild its facilities.
In 2013, Gallaway Enterprises prepared a grant on behalf of Butte County for the Environmental Enhancement Mitigation Program (EEMP) to restore and enhance bat roosting habitat on the Ord Ferry Bridge. The grant was applied for after a large multi-species bat maternity roost was displaced for two (2) years due to construction on the Ord Ferry Bridge. One of the bat species that uses Ord Ferry Bridge as a maternity roost is the pallid bat, which is a species of special concern in the State of California. The EEMP grant was awarded to Butte County for the Bat Colony Restoration Project at Ord Ferry Bridge in 2014. In Late July of 2014, Gallaway Enterprises installed 19 concrete bat boxes on the sides of Ord Ferry Bridge.
In January 2016, Gallaway Enterprises went back out to the bridge to see if there were any signs of the bats using the new roosting habitat. High fives were exchanged after urine stains were observed under every bat box that was installed on the bridge! Bats urine is highly acidic and leaves noticeable white stains on bridge structures in the areas that they roost. Piles of bat guano (i.e. bat poop) were also observed under accessible bat boxes and bats could be heard conducting social chirps within the bat boxes. The detection of the bats roosting in the bat boxes in January was also a surprising discovery! It was well known by Gallaway Enterprises that Ord Ferry Bridge served as a maternity roost where local bats produced and raised young, now with the new bat boxes, the bridge also serves as a winter roost for bats! Bats in the area typically leave their maternity roost after the breeding season and migrate locally to winter roosting areas. Thanks to the new bat habitat installed on the Ord Ferry Bridge, local bat populations and sensitive bat species can find suitable roosting habitat year around.
Project Spotlight: Gallaway Enterprises Completes Environmental Review and Permitting for the Spring Valley Road Bridge Replacement Project
Gallaway Enterprises recently completed a wide range of environmental compliance services for the Yuba County Public Works Department on the Spring Valley Road Bridge over Browns Valley Ditch. The purpose of the project was to replace a functionally obsolete bridge structure with a new bridge. Tasks included:
Natural Environment Study
Management of sub consultants for ISA Soil Testing and Cultural Resource Assessments
Application and negotiation of §1600, §401, and §404 permits from the CDFW, RWQCB and USACE respectively.
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.
Butte County suffered devastating damage in the summer of 2008 from wildfires that ripped through several communities. After the wildfires the County applied for, and was awarded, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery Initiative (DRI) funds to assist with rehabilitation from the wildfires. The County was awarded over $7.3 million to address the recovery efforts, part of which were allocated to the rehabilitation of Concow Road and associated drainage infrastructure.
Gallaway continues to lead through innovation and science. The Butte County Department of Public Works recently engaged Gallaway Enterprises to assist them with a “bat problem”. The Honey Run Covered Bridge is a historical bridge located on Honey Run Road over Butte Creek. The site is used for educational events, weddings, photo shoots, fundraisers and other public events. Over the years a large populations of bats have been using this historical structure as a maternity roost and the population of bats has grown. The concentration of bats creates a regular maintenance problem for the County.
While working on the Shasta Constructors team, Gallaway Enterprises recently completed a sophisticated fish passage project on State Route 1 at Dunn Creek in Mendocino County. Dunn Creek crossed State Route 1 through a nine-foot diameter structural steel plate pipe culvert. There was a six-foot vertical drop downstream of the culvert, creating a barrier to fish passage, including the Federal and State listed Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) and the Federal listed Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss).