It may seem like a routine maintenance job for San Joaquin County — giving Acampo Road a fresh coat of asphalt — but there had better not be any migratory birds in the area, according to San Joaquin County and state officials.
Pending approval at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting, the county will smooth out a 1.7-mile portion of Acampo Road between Highway 99 and Lower Sacramento Road. But it will cost county taxpayers a few hundred dollars to hire a wildlife biologist to check for birds in the area, said Mike Selling, the county’s deputy public works director for engineering.
The paving project is scheduled for May, but before any asphalt finds its way to Acampo Road, a qualified biologist will need to check on whether migratory birds have any nests or baby birds in the trees on or near the road.
If any birds are found nesting in area trees, the contractor, George Reed, will have to wait until the eggs hatch, and the babies grow up and fly away from Acampo Road before repaving the road, Selling said.
Although several kinds of birds inhabit the area, the one of greatest concern to state officials is the Swainson’s hawk, which is considered a “threatened species.”
“That is moderately common for our rural projects,” Selling said.
It is unlikely that the inspection will reveal any problems, he said, because only in rare cases has the county had to delay a public works project.
There have been only three or four cases where a project has had to be delayed in the past dozen to 15 years due to migratory birds, Selling said.
The biologist will be paid through Public Works’ budgeted staff time.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.