The Backyard Science group regularly publishes The Daily Bucket, which features observations of the world around us. Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds, flowers and anything natural or unusual are worthy additions to the Bucket and its comments. Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment. Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to as we try to understand the patterns that are unwinding around us.The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires study of the environmental impacts from projects needing federal entitlements. The construction and operation of the Frog Mitigation Area potentially affects Waters of the United States. Frog Mitigation Area LLC, out of caution, prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for this project, which underwent the public review and comment process. The publication of this Bucket reopens the public comment period for 24 hours.
The project's environmental consultants, CH2M Hill (pronounced Cheat'em to Hell by some) responds to earlier comments below the orange entrails.
PURPOSE AND NEED
The Frog Mitigation Project is the creation of .003 acres of riparian areas on private residential lands in the Pacific Northwest, to mitigate for a landscaping project's reduction of frog habitat. For more details please see:
The proposed project includes enlarging and deepening of a receiving pond to 8 x 8 x 1.5 feet, relocation of a waterfall, and creation of a 30-foot, 2-foot-wide, 1-foot deep creek. Nearby but unrelated projects include removal of several arborvitae trees, trimming a pear tree, relocation of ornamental flowers, and an upcoming fence replacement.
Here is a photo of the former waterfall and receiving pond, which were choked with unattractive plants, woody debris and mud. There was no stream bed at all.
In the following picture (taken from a different angle) You can see that the developer has dredged and deepened the former pond and replaced the liner. The waterfall (now visible in the upper middle of the photo) has been moved 30 feet to the west and a streambed excavated, to channel the waterfall's flows into the receiving pond.
The stream bed will contain many different sizes of rocks and gravel to create a variety of above-and-below water perches and hiding places.
The developer will cultivate native plants including rushes, cattails, and lilies, below the project's water line. After climate studies, the developer will plant attractive ornamentals on the upland portions.
RESPONSES TO COMMENTS
USA (United Squirrels of America) commented that the removal of arborvitae has destroyed the squirrels' traditional aboveground freeway between the front and back yards and this loss is not mitigated.
The arborvitae removal was a separate project not covered by NEPA. The squirrels in question are non-native so any loss of their habitat is insignificant. During dredging of the former pond, the developers found at least 20 peanuts in the water, indicating that the squirrels have historically misused the pond. The revitalized pear tree will also provide new squirrel habitat and a food supply.
Bullfrogs Strong (BS) commented that the project could attract more blue herons, which prey without mercy on bullfrogs. BS calls for an investigation of the disappearance of Ms. Havisham, a female bullfrog who hasn't been seen since late last year. BS complains that the project might lure bullfrogs from a nearby creek, and those lured frogs are at risk of attacks from cats during their journey through the neighborhood to the project site. BS calls for anti-heron and cat measures to be incorporated into the project.
As the commentor admitted, Ms. Havisham is not longer residing on the subject property. Since no bullfrogs currently occupy the project vicinity, BS lacks standing to object to any aspect of this project. In addition, as far as the developer is concerned, bullfrogs are an invasive species. Frankly, we are happy to consider you as heron bait, we hope that garter snakes also show up to prey on you, and we are tired of responding to BS.
The Congress of Oregon Juncoes (COJ) commented that the prior landscaping project destroyed potential or actual nesting sites, and those losses weren't mitigated. The arborvitae removal also destroyed bird habitat. The project developer is a fugitive from ongoing legal proceedings in Bullfrog Court, and the project should be stayed, until those proceedings have concluded.
The arborvitae were examined prior to removal, and there wasn't a single birds' nest in those scrawny trees. The developer has increased the project's size from .0002 to .003 acres. Robins are already frequenting the waterfall even though it isn't activated yet. We note that a juncoe makes frequent use of a much smaller birdbath near the project owner's front door, when that same juncoe isn't shitting on the owner's doorknob. The project's shallow stream bed will provide additional birdbath habitat. Also please see references to the improved pear tree habitat in Response #1.
Regarding the pending charges in Bullfrog Court, we feel, as described in Response #2, that Bullfrogs lack jurisdiction in this matter. In any event the creation and enhancement of the project wetlands should fully mitigate for the prior losses of the marginal lamb's ear habitat.
Native and Innocent Frogs (NAIF) support the project. We promise to inhabit it and keep you up all night with our happy choruses.
Thanks for your support. Please eat lots of slugs and wasps.
Lots of Angry Wasps (LAW) endorse the project and its likely supplies of fresh mud for hive construction.
We have plans for you. Please also see the response to NAIF.
Massive Army of Slugs (MAS) approves of the project's design, and we intend to take advantage of the liner as a wet place to hide under, away from the daytime sun.
Please see the above responses to LAW and NAIF.
"Spotlight on Green News & Views" will be posted every Saturday and Wednesday at 1:00 pm Pacific Time on the Daily Kos front page. Be sure to recommend and comment in the diary.
Now It's Your Turn What's interesting to you? Please post your own observations and your general location in the comments.
Thank you for reading. I'll work this morning so I'll respond to comments before lunchtime, PDT.