Merced County Landfill Expansion

Merced, California

To compensate for impacts to vernal pool habitats as a result of landfill expansion, the project’s Endangered Species Act Biological Opinion required the creation of 5.67 acres of vernal pool habitat within the 167-acre mitigation and preservation area adjacent to the existing and proposed landfill. Foothill Associates prepared preliminary wetland construction plans and conducted soil feasibility analyses on prospective vernal pool construction sites. Site analysis and soil studies provided crucial data to develop and refine detailed construction plans. Foothill Associates’ field staff oversaw all aspects of the vernal pool construction project, harvest and stockpile of vernal pool topsoil, layout of new vernal pools, excavation of vernal pool basins, distribution of wetland topsoil, finish grading of vernal pools, and revegetation of haul routes and other areas disturbed by construction activities. As part of the formal monitoring activities, protocol fairy shrimp and floristic surveys were conducted during each monitoring year. The constructed vernal pools provide habitat for vernal pool plant communities, vernal pool fairy shrimp (a federally-threatened species), and California linderiella, a former species of special concern.

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Foothill Associates staff designed and oversaw construction of 45 vernal pools.

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Protocol fairy shrimp and floristic surveys were conducted during each monitoring year.