Monday, September 26, 2016

An Animal Corridor? Really?

Do these pictures . . . 

look like this:

Unless there is some magic left for TxDOT to do, it isn't even remotely the same as the plans shown for an animal corridor.

Lois Balin, our Urban Wildlife Biologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department had this to say after visiting the site:

"I inspected the wildlife crossing with Rick Bonart on Friday afternoon.  I am sincerely hoping that they are not finished with it yet.  Currently, there are many shortfalls.  It looks more like a new entrance to FMSP than a wildlife crossing.  There are wide graded roads along 375 on the south side as well as continuing on through the underpass into the park on the north side.  It currently does not look very wildlife friendly.  There is a very steep enormous drop off on the south side of the crossing that does not encourage the use of wildlife.  I see no significant difference in grades for the humans and wildlife.  I thought there would be a narrow surfaced section for the hikers and bikers and a wide natural and soft earthen section for the wildlife.  I had suggested using a barrier between the two sections.  I see no difference whatsoever at this point. The surface is hard and compacted.  Of course, they are not finished.  I can only hope they  will reduce the steep grade on the south and use natural surfaces and native vegetation to make it more attractive to wildlife.  Also, I didn’t see a funneling fence into the corridor as yet."

As to Ms. Balin's observation that "[i]t looks more like a new entrance to FMSP" - it does. I too have inspected it and the "road" not corridor ends where eastbound Transmountain is. Another entrance for vehicles to the park? Is it in anticipation of the new FMSP Visitor's Center? That Center was to have been built on the eastside of the mountain near the current Archaeological Museum. Concerns about water and electrical utilities have dictated a change to the opposite side near the entrance of the Tom Mays Unit.

Something is very wrong here.


  1. Good grief, I hope this is not even close to the finished product. Has TX-Dot responded? I plan to contact them now to find out what I can.

  2. I responded to Mr. Tolbert's question in the following manner:


    The folks contributing to the blog are apparently not experienced in the reality of construction. The “roads” are necessary for construction equipment to access the site. I believe we discussed that at the meeting you organized. Also, as I have said many times, we are concentrating on the roadway so that we can get two lanes open in each direction as quickly as possible. The roadway portion should be complete in the next couple of weeks and then attention will be focused on the lower portion of the works, including the trail and wildlife fencing. Unfortunately, those blogging could have contacted me, or our West Area Office to obtain accurate information rather than spreading misinformation to the public."