USFWS to begin reviewing biological assessment of Rockford airport's proposed $50 million cargo expansion
Rockford Airport Officials announced today that the planned road over a rare patch of prairie where a federally endangered bumble bee was found last Fall could adversely affect the listed species.
Now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must determine if the project could jeopardize the continued existence of the Rusty Patched Bumblebee species, which was listed as federally endangered back in 2017.
Zach Oakley is the Deputy Director of Operations and Planning at the airport. He says that the endangered species act consultation is officially transitioning from informal to formal consultation.
“Last week," said Oakley, "the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] transmitted the biological assessment that the the airport and consultants had prepared for the FAA [and] submitted it to [the U.S.] Fish and Wildlife [Service] to initiate the formal consultation portion.”
This means that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is now charged with evaluating the biological assessment prepared by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Greater Rockford Airport Authority. The service has 135 days from today to deliver a biological opinion on the effects of the proposed project on the Rusty Patched Bumblebee.
The fate of the bumblebee and the rare patch of prairie where it was found last fall will be known, at the latest, by September 7th.