AllStar Ecology is excited to welcome our newest staff members Derek Springston, Taryn Moser, Kayt Collins, and Mark Hepner. Mr. Springston and Mrs. Moser will be focusing on environmental permitting for a wide variety of clients while Ms. Collins and Mr. Hepner bring a lot of field experience including bats, delineations, restoration, environmental inspections, and plants to the team. Welcome aboard!
Pre Dam Removal Mussel Surveys
Three low-head dams (West Milford, Highland and Two Lick Dams) on the West Fork River in Harrison County, West Virginia, were planned for removal by the Clarksburg Water Board with assistance from the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS). These dams were constructed in the early 1900’s for flood control and drinking water supply but no longer served their purpose and were a hazard to recreation along the river.
In September 2015, AllStar Ecology staff led efforts to relocate all live freshwater mussels from the work areas downstream of each dam. In West Virginia, all freshwater mussel species are now of conservation concern due to severe declines in their populations. In fact, freshwater mussels are the most imperiled species across the United States. With assistance from the USFWS and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR), a total of 116 freshwater mussels of eight species were collected and relocated outside of the dam work areas.
Dam Removal & Mussel Salvage
The demolition of the three dams occurred in the spring and summer of 2016. Each dam was demolished in increments so that water levels upstream receded gradually over time. This exposed 12.5 miles of river bank on the West Fork River home to freshwater mussels that were now stranded without water. AllStar Ecology, USFWS, WVDNR, and numerous other partners and volunteers used canoes with apple pickers and litter grabbers to collect stranded mussels. In total, 1,476 live freshwater mussels of eight species were relocated to newly exposed riffles within the West Fork River with help from 34 volunteers searching for a total of 646 hours.
Restoration & Future Goals
Removing the three dams opened a continuous 35 miles of river on the West Fork and returned 13.5 miles of lake type habitat to river type habitat. This will improve fish movement, sediment transport, and freshwater mussel populations and increase recreation opportunities. The project has also spurred the removal of tons of trash and litter from the areas and has lowered the cost of drinking water treatment for the City of Clarksburg.
The USFWS and its partners hope to continue river restoration on the West Fork River through additional dam removal and modifications. AllStar Ecology will continue to lead efforts to relocate freshwater mussels from work areas and along exposed banks.
The AllStar Difference
We develop mussel survey plans and conduct the necessary surveys to fulfill the needs of various industries, land managers and the scientific community. AllStar has performed hundreds of mussel surveys throughout West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania for industries including oil and gas, utilities, loading and dredging facilities, municipalities, non-profits, and government agencies, etc. to meet the needs of our clients. Learn more about our mussel services by clicking here or contact us for more information.TALK WITH US
Spring Ephemerals – Dependent on Ants?
Found throughout the eastern United States and Canada, spring ephemerals thrive on the floor of rich, undisturbed woodlands and can be quite beautiful. This verdant, moist environment is the ideal site for myrmecochory, seed dispersal by ants. The seeds of spring ephemerals bear fatty external appendages called eliaosomes. The insects, attracted to the elaiosomes, carry the booty back to their nests, where the lipid-rich food source is consumed by their young. The unharmed seeds are thrown into a midden, a rich, composting stew that stimulates germination. A single ant colony may collect as many as a thousand seeds over a season. While the volume is great, the distance is not; on average, a seed is carried just two meters from the parent plant. Because offspring remain so local (unlike plants dispersed by birds or wind), habitat fragmentation is a major threat to the survival of spring ephemerals. Once these plants are gone from the forest, it is rare that they return. To help you identify these plants and their characteristics, view AllStar’s primer below.
Importance of Bat Habitat Assessment and Conservation
As industry development continues across the country, Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) and northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) habitat conservation is important to maintain their populations. Indiana bats and northern long-eared bats are listed as federally endangered and threatened species, respectively. During the summer, they are both forest dwelling bats that will roost underneath the peeling bark or within cracks, crevices, or cavities of trees. During the winter, both species hibernate in abandoned mines and caves. As a response to increasing Indiana bat and northern long-eared bat conservation measures and bat habitat assessment required by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), AllStar Ecology has designed and manufactured artificial bat roosting structures in the form of two-chambered Rocket Boxes.
The Oil & Gas Awards announced this year’s annual Northeast Oil & Gas Awards recipients in recognition of those companies who excel in the key areas of Health & Safety, Operational Excellence, Innovation, Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Stewardship.
The annual Northeast gala ceremony was held at The Westin Convention Center, Pittsburgh, PA, where hundreds of oil and gas executives gathered together to celebrate Operational Excellence, Innovations in technology, CSR, Health & Safety and Environmental Stewardship.
About the Oil & Gas Awards
The Oil & Gas Awards recognize the outstanding achievements made within the upstream and midstream sectors of the North American oil and gas industry. The Awards are a platform for the industry to demonstrate and celebrate the advances made in the key areas of environment, efficiency, innovation, corporate social responsibility and health and safety. The Awards show the industry’s motivation to develop by recognizing and rewarding the efforts of corporations and individuals. For more information about the Oil & Gas Awards, all regional awards and award categories can be reviewed on their website at www.oilandgasawards.com
Engineering Company of the Year – Pickering Associates
Water Management Company of the Year – Eureka Resources
Award for Excellence in Health & Safety – Deep Well Services
Award for Excellence in Environmental Stewardship – Comtech Industries
Manufacturer of the Year – Infinity Tool Manufacturing
Construction Company of the Year – Minnesota Limited
New Technology Development of the Year – Fortis Energy Services
The Oil & Gas Financial Journal Transaction of the Year – Rice Energy
Kerr Pumps & FlowValve Award for Excellence in Well Completion – U.S. Well Services
E&P Company of the Year – EQT Corporation
Future Industry Leader – Zhenhua Rui
Midstream Company of the Year – MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P.
Industry Supplier of the Year –Total Equipment Company
Law Firm of the Year – Blank Rome LLP
Award for Excellence in Drilling – Eclipse Resources
Oilfield Services Company of the Year – McCutcheon Enterprises
Award for Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility – Junior Achievement
General Industry Service Award – Well Master Corp
Lifetime Achievement Award – Lou D’Amico
AllStar Ecology, a local West Virginia consulting company, humbly received the honor of Consultancy of the Year. AllStar Ecology is a specialty consulting firm focused on guiding their clients through the changing regulatory climate in regards to the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act. They specialize in ecological and environment consulting and contracting, including surveying for federal and state protected species (bats, mussels, mammals, and plants), completing and implementing conservation plans, as well as mitigation banking, restoration contracting, and wetland and stream permitting (404/401) including mitigation banking and restoration contracting.
Specific highlights for AllStar Ecology over the past year include manufacturing, installing, and monitoring over 300 artificial roosting structures to comply with the Endangered Species Act for endangered and threatened bat species in West Virginia. These structures had a 42% occupancy rate and included eight (8) northern long-eared bat maternity colonies, a federally threatened species. This success demonstrates how meaningful conservation measures can provide companies with a known and USFWS preferred solution for tree clearing activities while limiting cost and off-site conservation measure requirements.
Moreover, in 2016, AllStar ecologists completed several freshwater mussel, and endangered plant species surveys required for oil and gas infrastructure development in West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Since its founding, AllStar Ecology has surveyed over 50,000 acres of land, and permitted over 1,200 infrastructure projects in the region. They work directly with industry, as well as provide specialty as-needed support to engineering firms within the industry.
AllStar Ecology is proud to be locally owned and operated with a staff of 40 professionally trained environmental consultants, 60% of which are West Virginia University graduates.