Greetings! Thanks to the concerns about Baker Woodlot and the perspective of Edie Britt who appreciates that MSU students still give a hoot! I will try to provide some additional perspective. You can find the project information as available through the Michigan Department of Transportation.
While the project does indeed spare Baker woodlot (http://www.cpa.msu.edu/nat_area/namap.htm, http://www.cpa.msu.edu/nat_area/baker.htm), it does impact 2 wetland areas. One of the wetlands comprises part of the MSU Fisheries and Wildlife Club Management a
Area. Students are indeed impacted by this. In fact it is the second encroachment of the management area in 7 years including the construction of the Trowbridge Road extension.
In terms of public hearings, the process has included a series of working groups involving consultants, MSU planners, MSU faculty and staff, and the Fisheries and Wildlife Club executive board. I am extremely pleased with how the students have addressed the situation in a very caring and professional manner. The consultants have spent a great deal of time addressing the social and environmental concerns, especially those related to stormwater that MSU's stormwater team has raised. In fact, the project has enabled future teaching, research and outreach related to innovative methods to minimize the ecological footprint. Of course that does not take away the fact that the project does reduce the size of the FW Club management area.
The project has indeed held several campus hearings and meetings and I paste one of the announcements below. I personally have used the project as a center-piece of the Introduction to Fisheries and Wildlife course this year where students have conducted observations and read literature about the impacts of roads on ecological integrity. I encourage students to attend the public meetings and to bring their knowledge, concerns and insights with them. They also have to balance the needs and interest of the safety concerns behind the project. We discuss the project in terms of Aldo Leopold's conservation ethic, stewardship and sustainability.
So Baker woodlot remains protected though access to it will diminish over the next year or so starting in March. We continue our exploration of Baker this week in class thinking that it might be the last Introduction to Fisheries and Wildlife class to use the Farm Lane entrance for a while. Thanks again for your concerns about the Baker Woodlot and MSU students! :)
Press Release below:
Subject: The New Farm Lane: Informational meetings planned
August 21, 2007
The New Farm Lane: Bridge to the Future
Beginning in October, the Michigan Department of Transportation and MSU will
start construction on Farm Lane. Farm Lane will be widened and rebuilt to
pass under the two railroad tracks that intersect it. The project is
designed to enhance vehicular, pedestrian and bicyclist safety and decrease
delays on one of the university's main thoroughfares.
With a project of this magnitude comes construction and construction
impacts. To help minimize those impacts, the project will be constructed in
two phases: Phase I begins in October 2007; and Phase II, which is expected
to begin in March 2008 through August 2009, involves a complete closure of
Farm Lane from Mt. Hope Road to Wilson Road and adjacent cross streets.
Construction on Farm Lane will mean rerouting vehicular, pedestrian, bicycle
and bus traffic.
Communication is the key to the project's success. For this reason we would
like to begin working with you to determine how this project will affect
your organization. We have scheduled two information sessions to offer
project details and timelines, as well as address any questions you may have
regarding this major road closure. The goal is to better assess your needs
and help you inform your various clients, patrons, or commercial and service
Please plan to attend one of the following informational sessions:
* 8:30 to 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 21, Room 206 Old Horticulture Building
* 1 to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25, Room A219 Clinical Center
We look forward to meeting you at one of these meetings. If you are unable
to attend, please contact me (Karen Zelt) to set up an individual meeting.
Your cooperation and patience throughout this exciting project is
appreciated! If you are not the appropriate person within your organization
to receive this information, please forward it accordingly.
Karen Zelt Communications Manager Michigan State University Physical Plant
Michigan State University
Kari Arend Communications Representative Michigan Department of
Geoffrey Habron, Ph.D.
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife
Department of Sociology
Michigan State University
13 Natural Resources
East Lansing, MI 48824-1222