Environmental Assessment for Mill Creek Restoration Project, Eglin Air Force Base, FL
AIR ARMAMENT CENTER EGLIN AFB FL AIR BASE WING (96TH)/CIVIL ENGINEER GROUP (96TH)
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The 96th Civil Engineer Group, Natural Resources Branch 96 CEGCEVSN, aka Jackson Guard proposes restoring segments of Mill Creek previously reconfigured by the construction of Eglins Falcon golf course as Okaloosa darter Etheostoma okaloosae habitat by removing culverts from three holes on Eglins Falcon golf course and by replacing and relocating a fourth culvert. The work would preferably begin no later than early January 2007 in order to be finished before darter spawning season March-April and before Eglins Eagle course is closed for renovations March to September 2007 but could start between late September 2007 and mid-January 2008. The endangered Okaloosa darter only occurs in six watersheds that drain into Boggy and Rocky Bayous along the north side of Choctawhatchee Bay in northwest Florida Figures 1 2. Mill Creek is the smallest of these, with a drainage area of less than two square miles out of the 176 square miles total area of the six drainages. The 1998 revision of the Okaloosa Darter Recovery Plan1 identifies the Mill Creek darter population as the most imperiled. Almost the entire length of Mill Creek flows through the Falcon and Eagle golf courses Figure 3 on Eglin Air Force Base AFB. The darter is well-established in Mill Creek north of College Blvd, but persists in small numbers in the remnants of free-flowing stream between the ponds and culverts that were installed to make the golf courses. One cause for these population declines may be related to losses in quality and quantity of stream habitat. The areas inhabited by the Okaloosa darter are typically the margins of flowing streams where detritus, root mats, and vegetation are present. Densities average about one darter in every 2.7 meters of stream length. Okaloosa darters have not been collected in areas where there is no current nor have they been collected in the open, sandy areas in the middle of stream channels.
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