Endangered plants to be moved as part of Niles trail extensionPublished 10:03pm Tuesday, May 11, 2010
By AARON MUELLER
Niles Daily Star
It appears the city of Niles is one step closer to continuing its work on the extension of the recreation trail in downtown Niles.
According to Niles Public Works Director Neil Coulston, the city received word Tuesday from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment that it has approved the city’s request to transplant endangered prairie trillium plants from the trail extension location to Fernwood Botanical Garden.
The letter from the DNRE, written by Lori Sargent, an endangered species specialist, also says the city will need an endangered species permit in order to move the plants.
Coulston expects that the city will be approved for a permit but said he had no idea how long it will take to receive the permit and how long it will delay the project.
“Hopefully real soon,” he said in an e-mail to the Star.
The city had planned to already have begun construction of the trail but the discovery of the endangered plants last month postponed the effort. Some construction has already begun on Front and Wayne streets where prairie trillium is not located.
Jaran Construction out of Allegan began the construction last month, hoping that the city would get approval to move the plants quickly and the workers would not have to leave the area.
The project calls for the trail to be expanded north and south, tripling its length to 2.25 miles. The extension is part of a bigger project that would connect Niles to communities as far as Mishawaka.