By Rod Rose
The Lebanon Reporter
---- — Removal of about 30 trees on either side of Eagle Creek at the Ford Road bridge began this week after the Boone County Highway Department received permission to access several properties. The bridge is scheduled for replacement this year.
Highway Superintendent Rick Carney told the county commissioners at a special meeting Monday, March 24, that right of entry agreements were either signed or pending.
Some of the trees could be habitat for the endangered Indiana bat, a tiny creature that roosts during warm weather under the loose bark of dead or dying trees. Federal law forbids the removal of any tree in which bats roost between April 1 and Oct. 1.
The commissioners approved on March 24 payment of $13,177 to Michael Droese, a resident of the area, both as compensation for right-of-way for the bridge and for removal of three large trees at his driveway that have aesthetic value.
Droese also wanted compensation for ground cover that will be affected during bridge construction, Carney said.
Other settlements, including payments to former Indiana Pacer Rik Smits and the Eagle Creek Nature Conservancy, were approved by the commissioners Monday.