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The Turtle Creek Mitigation site is one of several sites identified to offset impacts to freshwater wetlands, coastal wetlands, and threatened and endangered species habitat resulting from the widening of the Garden State Parkway Milepost 30-80.
The 259-acre Turtle Creek Mitigation Site was identified to offset impacts to threatened and endangered species including Northern Pine Snake (Pituophis melanoleucus), Pine Barrens Treefrog (Hyla andersonii), Barred Owl (Strix varia), Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus), and Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus), among others. Princeton Hydro was contracted to conduct a two-phase survey to first identify, map, and assess the habitat on the site and second to conduct directed surveys in the field to verify the species’ presence.
The identification, mapping, and screening-level assessment of on-site habitats used aerial photographs and ESRI ArcMap®. Once habitats were mapped, they were ground-verified as well as evaluated for the potential for each habitat to support the target listed species.
The second phase of the project involved conducting directed surveys to determine the presence of target species. The surveys were conducted from spring through autumn of 2007. Surveys were scheduled and conducted on the site during the time of year that the species would be most readily observed, such as during breeding, nesting, or flowering times. Additionally, survey methods were specific to each species such as conspecific vocalization playback for amphibian and bird species, time constrained searches in habitat identified as suitable for that species during their most active time, and random incidental encounter using transect searches through their suitable habitat. These methods are accepted survey techniques and increase the likelihood of detecting the target species.
The surveys and subsequent report summarized the results and facilitated the approval of the site as an offset to suitable habitat impact that will result from the Garden State Parkway Widening project.
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