Wetland planning starts with field trip
From the District 4 newsletter, Interchange
You’ll never see so many feds in one place and there wasn’t any fighting, Bob Johnson noted.
On a field trip to the Boulder Flats mitigation site along Idaho 75 north of Ketchum, about 30 federal, state and local representatives discussed the plan to realign the road and recreate several acres of Big Wood River wetlands. It’s a plan that will take a lot of cooperation between the agencies, it won’t please everyone but in the end will be the most beneficial to the natural state of the land.
“We have to have a mitigation plan approved by all those people,” said Johnson, the project manager.
“The idea of the field trip is how can we try to get consensus with all these groups who are concerned with different things.”
The realignment of the road came about with the completion of the Environmental Impact Statement for the reconstruction of Idaho 75 Timmerman to Ketchum.
Within the corridor are several environmental impacts that require a mitigation plan. Choosing from among more than a dozen other possible mitigation sites, the Boulder Flats site was picked because it was the most practical and cost effective.
ITD is required to move forward with the mitigation plan to continue planning for improvements between Timmerman and Ketchum.
The design work will include input from the Army Corp of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Forest Service and Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Blaine County Recreation District, Idaho departments of Environmental Quality and Water Resources as well as ITD maintenance, design, materials and environmental sections.
“The question is, how are we going to redesign the road to make it work for the maintenance people to take care of after its built, for the recreation district and its bike path, and reconstruct the wetlands to their natural state,” Johnson said.
“What it comes down to is what is best for the land.
Nobody is walking away from the plan. Everybody is cooperating and we think that when it’s done it will be an award winning mitigation plan that we’re all proud of.”
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Photos: The tour group discusses the wetland below
Phantom Hill near Idaho 75 (top photo); Bob Johnson (right) and Andrew Young explain the
wetland mitigation plan using an aerial photo (bottom).