Endangered & Threatened Species
Project Title: RJ Miller Airport
Project Location: Berkeley and Lacey Townships, Ocean County, New Jersey
Project Sponsor: Ocean County Department of Planning
Client: C&S Companies

Ocean County is planning the build-out of the Ocean County Airport, formally Robert J. Miller Airpark which is located within the NJ Pinelands Preservation Area. The airport build-out includes a Crosswind Runway and Parallel Taxiway; 500 foot Relocation of Runway 6-24 to the West; “T” Hangars and Taxilane construction; Apron Expansion Obstruction Removal; and Pavement Maintenance. The Crosswind Runway, 500 foot Relocation and Obstruction Removal projects were required to address airport safety. Ocean County Airport is home to nine NJ and Pinelands-listed E&T wildlife species and a Pinelands-listed plant, sickle-leaved golden aster. A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the NJ Pinelands Commission and the County of Ocean was required in order to authorize the proposed projects. Amy Greene Environmental performed E&T species surveys and prepared a habitat management plan; assisted with the application for the MOA, delineated onsite wetlands; and performed monitoring services during the construction of Phase 1 of the airport build-out.

State listed threatened species including barred owl, northern pine snake, Pine Barrens treefrog, red-headed woodpecker, and grasshopper sparrow were identified during the surveys. AGE also identified the extent of the Pinelands listed endangered sickle leaved golden aster population. AGE developed critical habitat maps. Areas of disturbance for the proposed projects were overlaid onto the habitat mapping to determine potential impacts and enable minimization of impacts in design. AGE designed a Habitat Management Plan to facilitate project development and protect and enhance rare species habitat that included a detailed mowing plan; specifications for tree removal and tree topping; a 25 acre Reptile Habitat Management Area; and a sickle-leaved golden aster management area.

AGE presented the survey results and habitat management plan to the Pinelands Commission and met a non-profit group the Pinelands Preservation Alliance to discuss our findings and recommendations. AGE facilitated the MOA between Ocean County and Pinelands Commission which was issued in 2012. AGE transplanted 100 clusters of sickle-leaved golden asters from the footprint of development to the management area; oversaw the development of the Reptile Habitat Management Area; and performed threatened and endangered snake monitoring during the Phase 1 build-out of the airport. AGE also delineated wetlands in the project area and interfaced with the NJDEP and determined that a wetland permit was not required for obstruction removal proposed at the northeast end of Runway 6-24 and the proposed crosswind runway since the activity does not involve dredge and fill operations. AGE prepared an application for a NJDEP Flood Hazard Area Permit for tree cutting for obstruction removal. AGE perform endangered and threatened species monitoring during construction of the crosswind runway and oversaw construction of the reptile habitat enhancement project. Subsequent qualitative surveys for sickle-leaved golden aster were performed in support of runway lighting rehabilitation and repaving of Runway 6-24. The history and success of the Ocean County Airport build-out project was presented by Ocean County and C&S Engineers at the 2013 FAA Eastern Region conference in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

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