To support TxDOT, Hollaway prepared a Biological Evaluation (BE) and conducted intensive habitat surveys (ground and drone technology) for the eastern Black Rail, Piping Plover, Rufa Red Knot, and sea turtle to support consultation with USFWS for a proposed revetment project near High Island and Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge in Galveston County, Texas.
Hollaway prepared a presence/absence methodology that was submitted to USFWS for approval to conduct surveys of the recently listed eastern black rail based on previous studies and journals in detecting secretive marsh birds when they are most likely to be observed. The team also collaborated with the project team and USFWS to develop best management practices (BMPs) that were appropriate for this type of project.
Due to rapidly crumbling infrastructure and safety concerns, there was a very restricted timeline to complete all of the necessary environmental reviews and due diligence in order to have the new revetment constructed before the next storm. One of the challenges with this particular project was that the Black Rail had been so recently listed that there was no approved USFWS survey methodology for it yet. Via drone aerial photography, Hollaway biologists confirmed the presence of a potentially suitable habitat adjacent to the project area, and TxDOT prepared BMPs based on our recommendations. Assuming the presence of the Black Rail and implementing these BMPs allowed USFWS to move forward with consultation and approval for TxDOT to begin.