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Officials Search For Wetlands, Bats, In Trees Near Airport

Joe Short, Fulton County commissioner, said before a grove of trees near the Fulton County Airport can come down, there must be a survey of possible wetlands, a study of possible archeological sites, and a search for bats.

The trees, located south of the main runway, disturb the wind, creating problems for aircraft on their final approach to landing. The trees were implicated in a fatal airplane crash. County officials have been trying to get the trees removed for many years.

Short said the county consultant on the project, R.D. Zande & Associates, Toledo, was scheduled to do the archeological study this week.

The Fulton County Soil & Water Conservation District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are looking at two small areas that could qualify as wetlands.

If there are wetlands in the woods, other areas would be designated as wetlands, mitigating a potential loss of wetlands.

Short said he has made a call to start a study to determine if the woods provide a habitat for the Indiana brown bat. The bat is considered an endangered species by the Federal government.

Short did not know what would happen if the woods are found to be a habitat for the bat.

However, he said he is “thinking positively” and believes the woods will come down in the next few weeks.

“If we can do it before December, it gives the opportunities for businesses to bid on the project. They can log out the woods during the winter,” he said.

As part of a negotiated agreement, the property owners have agreed to remove the trees. The county will remove the stumps.

Short said no one is pushing harder on the tree removal project than he, because of the history of the problem.

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