Human species plays second fiddle to obscure endangered mussel

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Department of Transportation have delayed repair of the Orth Road bridge project frustrating drivers and costing hundreds of thousands of future tax dollars to fix damage occurring to alternative roads used since the bridge was closed.

Why? There is the possibility that there are obscure, small dark-colored spike mussel habitats in the Boone County creek that passes under the bridge, so the bridge will remain closed until state officials can relocate the spike mussel, which they are not even sure are there!

All that officials have found thus far is a shell that was “four miles Northeast” of the bridge project in 2011 – two years ago. Really? This substantial finding prompted the stoppage of work, while they search for the mussel’s habitats in the creek, which is being delayed because the water is too high to check at this time.

The bridge has been closed since February 2012 after a portion of the bridge beam collapsed, but it is the mussel, which is breaking the backs of the people that need to use the bridge. The bridge could be closed for a total of three years as follows:


The project could be pushed back even further if state officials cannot relocate the spike mussels this fall. If they are relocated in spring 2014, the completion of the project will likely be pushed back to winter 2014.

Meanwhile, motorists will continue to wear down Dawson Lake Road when traveling between Illinois 76 and Caledonia Road. Rapp said average daily traffic increased from 1,150 cars to 2,223 cars once the bridge was closed.

It makes no difference to the Department of Natural Resources or others like them, that there is only an assumption that the mussel is present in the creek, causing frustration to the human inhabitants or that damage is occurring to alternate roads that were not constructed for such traffic.

To naturalists and environmentalists, the human species is simply another species inhabiting the planet and not exactly their favorite species because of our supposed destructive nature to Planet Earth.

The naturalists, if they find the habitats by crawling on their knees will relocate them upstream so sediments from the construction projects do not endanger the mussels and then check back years later to see if the spike mussels reproduced or if they exist in the same concentration. If not, will the bridge be torn down, lawsuits filed against Boone County – what?

What if the relocation area is downstream from another project that might produce sediment and again endanger the mussel habitats? Will the habitat be moved upstream from that one, also? Maybe humans should just stop constructing bridges?

These environmentalists feel that the plight of endangered species is directly due the growing presence of humans that continue to engulf other species’ habitats and thus endanger them and threaten our global environment – like fixing the Orth Road bridge, obviously!



  1. Jill Bonk

    Unbelievable – “greenies” out of control again. What a bunch of “mussel” huggers. Yew

  2. Terry

    A similar small little spicies held up the construction of I-355 extension from Bolingbrook to New Lenox for 6 years from 1996-2002.

  3. Steverino

    Good! About time mother nature fights back.

    • Ted Biondo

      No need to comment, Steverino – I knew you were one! Mother Nature isn’t fighting back, the environmental wackos are because humans are just another species in their eyes!

  4. wilson

    This is surprising, greenies, PETA?

    ” I am concerned that Philadelphians seem more committed to protecting the lives of animals than they seem to be committed to saving the innocent lives of unborn children and their young mothers. Let me explain.”


  5. How does it cost us taxpayers more for the traffic to take another route? Can you support this claim with any facts?

    The bridge being out doesn’t increase the number of cars on the road. Instead of the traffic being spread out on two roads. It is on one road now. The wear and tear is the same. Just now one road is getting 100% of the wear. Not the end of the world.

    We need to take care of our planet. Sorry if that doesn’t fit into your plans. No one is being hurt with the bridge out. No harm in taking a little time to protect a species that may be endangered.

  6. Terry

    Steverino and Joe,

    Let’s see if your actions follow your words – give up your cars and get some good walking shoes – that would be best for the planet and mother nature, correct?

  7. SNuss

    Double the traffic on a road that isn’t designed for it will cause it to fail much sooner. But, when that road fails, just use another one. Don’t worry about fixing the damage. We have plenty of roads. Who cares if fire or police take 10-20 minutes longer to get where they are going? It isn’t like lives are at stake, right?

  8. Aaron

    It’s too bad that the IDNR isn’t more interested in protecting the numerous birds of prey and bats slaughtered by ugly, inefficient, pointless wind turbines every day.

  9. Terry my actions do follow my words. We are a one car family. We drive less then 8,000 miles a year. Would be much less but I have a daughter that drags me all over the country playing sports. We carpool with other family members to stores. We walk all over. We not only have lowered our footprint, but we save a ton of money this way. I like how the right thinks caring about the planet is wrong. Like the planet is here for us to destroy.

    Snuss do you have a link to back up your claim that the Dawson Lake Road won’t hold up to this amount of traffic? Does the newspaper blogger know more about roads then the people that actually take care of the roads? Why would they build a road next to a major subdivision that can’t handle traffic?

    Again do you have proof it will take 10 – 20 minutes longer for police and fire to get to someone? I’m looking at the maps and I don’t see it.

    Why not just say forget nature? Why make up a bunch of reasons to hide the fact you two just don’t care what is there? Just keep it real.

  10. Steverino

    If you had a greater appreciation of our fragile ecosystem Ted you wouldn’t’ be so quick to dismiss this issue as something created by a bunch of tree huggers. Perhaps a few science classes at RVC would help expand your far right brain.

    • Ted Biondo

      Joe, Steverino – what about the fact that the only evidence concerning the endangered species was a shell found 4 miles away from the site, 2 years ago – do facts, common sense or data mean anything to you two? Tell me where this is significant evidence that the mussel is anywhere near the site, such that sediment would kill the habitat or that there is even a habitat, and then maybe I’ll research the road problem. I simply quoted the article that said damage was being done to the road.

      However, many people are having to drive out of their way based on this flimsy “scientific” evidence – doesn’t that add carbon to the environment? I have taken enough science classes, Steverino – your left brain doesn’t look at the evidence.

  11. SNuss

    @ joe: “Asphalt overlays typically last years longer than chip sealing in high-traffic areas as it can retain its integrity better.

    Read more: Asphalt Paving Vs. Chip Sealing | eHow http://www.ehow.com/info_8538486_asphalt-paving-vs-chip-sealing.html#ixzz2UPZIehGW

  12. Terry


    When I see the Limo Left quit giving lip service to this w/o any follow-up actions, then I’ll get serious about it. Tell you daughter, for the sake of the planet, to play sports locally.

    That mussel is causing people to drive more miles and therefore use more gas thus, at least according to the Left, ruining the planet.

  13. Terry couple problems with playing locally. One this area doesn’t have the diamonds to support tourneys. When their is a local tourney we stay local. The other problem is the local talent level is small. Have to travel to play better teams. College scouts don’t show up to roy gayle rec ball games. Believe me I wish we were able to play more locally. But reality is this area is a dump. No one wants to come to rockford to play. Much nicer facilities elsewhere.

    “Joe, Steverino – what about the fact that the only evidence concerning the endangered species was a shell found 4 miles away from the site, 2 years ago – do facts, common sense or data mean anything to you two? ”

    Those decision are above my pay grade. If the people in charge feel this is the correct step then who am i to argue? I know very little about these mussles. I’m guessing you know as much about them as I do. Let the science geeks do their thing. One bridge being out is not the end of the world.

    snuss great info. So how were these roads done? Did we put in a crap road that boarders a major subdivision? If we did is that something the mussles should pay for?

    So are you guys saying we shouldn’t try to protect endangered species? Just let them die off? Our bridges are more important then protecting life? The only life that matters is human?

  14. SNuss

    Since I didn’t attend the planning meetings, I can’t confirm their reasoning. First and foremost, chip-sealed roads are not “crap”. They can handle a certain amount of traffic load and frequency, and are economical. So, I would have to assume that the decision was made to use the most economical paving that would meet, or slightly exceed, the current traffic load on Dawson Lake Road. If you double that load, your shorten the road’s life by half, or more.

    If you want to install reinforced concrete on all the roads to solve the load problem, what gets built will last a long time, but you won’t pave much road, per year, due to the cost.

    Given the choice between human life, and that of an mollusk, I choose human.

  15. Terry


    What’s more important, college scouts seeing your daughter play or saving the earth?

  16. Curtis Newport

    When the closed bridge is between your house and ambulance, fire and law enforcement services, your perspective is a bit different. Clearly the best interests of the planet are not preserved when people burn extra fuel to take a three mile detour.

    The spike mussel is listed at “threatened,” not endangered, in Illinois, and chances are slim that any will be found under the Orth Road bridge. The state has been aware of the situation for fifteen months and has done nothing.

    The real story here is not about an endangered species. It’s about state bureaucrats who have failed to do their jobs.

  17. “The real story here is not about an endangered species. It’s about state bureaucrats who have failed to do their jobs.”

    Nothing new there.

    Terry it is very important to my daughter to play college ball. Something she has been working at since she was 10. Any money she can pick up in scholarships will save her money in the long run. Besides the ball she has been working just as hard in school. She even gives up her summers to attend a summer school program that is designed to help prep kids for college. I have screwed up a lot of things in my life. Had my oldest when I was just a kid myself. But my wife and I have worked real hard to make sure her life gets off to a better start then ours.

    I’m guessing a scholarship would be better for the environment then her driving back and forth to taco bell to earn that money. Even a 5,000 a year partial over 4 years is 20g. 20g is a more then a few days of work. Mile for mile the colleges pay better then a job.

    The other part of our travels is the bond we now have. While other kids are out running the streets my kid is hanging with dad. You can’t put a value on that. You can disagree with my views on the environment, but only a fool would have an issue with how I have raised my kids.

  18. Maybe better isn’t the best choice of words above. We hope her life gets off to an easier start then ours.

  19. Terry


    You’ve made your choice, driving all over and thus polluting the earth in order to possibly get your daughter a college scholarship vs. saving the earth. You make priorities.

    She will have ot drive to some job be it Taco Bell or some six-figure job from a college education. The bonding is great, could be done in the living room instead of the car though.

  20. SNuss

    Something for joe, and his daughter, to consider:

    Is college worth the money?

    We are now faced with the reality that the person pouring your coffee at Starbuck’s may be more educated than you.

    Where did it go wrong? There is certainly a lot of blame to go around; the for-profit universities, the degree mills, the inability of colleges to set rigorous standards, etc. But an easier answer may be that we have reached the saturation point of college degrees.

    Richard K. Vedder, director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity and professor of economics at Ohio University said; “The number of new jobs requiring a college degree is now less than the number of young adults graduating from universities, so more and more graduates are filling jobs for which they are academically overqualified.” [source]

    Ask any parent to consider the idea that maybe there are too many people going to college and we should encourage some kids not to go, inevitably the response will be “That’s fine for someone else’s child.” No parent wants to be the one whose kid didn’t get a degree. And there is a real reason for this. Past studies show that those who have a college degree earn more than those who only have a high school education.

    It was a linear argument that went from “spend more money to achieve a better standard of living” that became the bedrock of those aspiring to enter the doors of higher education.

    Unfortunately that rule is no longer so hard and fast. Yes, you may earn more money, but you also have student loans. And the gamble is that extra money earned due to a college degree is not assured. A report released by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics shows that one in five porters and bellhops have college degrees. That number is one in four for retail workers. [source]

    Many in our society fail to recognize the advantage of postsecondary education instead of college. A postsecondary education is an institution for someone to learn a trade or a useful skill without having to invest in the tedium of a four year degree. Examples include beautician schools and truck driver courses, among others. Take for example a student who has earned a Political Science degree, and not able to find a job in policy analysis, turns to computers. That student becomes proficient in one or more software areas and is promoted and given raises on those qualifications.

    Now imagine if that same person could have dispensed with the degree altogether and just taken course in the software area of their interest? Less money, less time, and more skills are some of the benefits of taking this route.

    Read more: http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/60-second-attention-span/2011/dec/14/college-worth-money/#ixzz2UUumD9kP
    Follow us: @wtcommunities on Twitter

    @ joe: If your daughter trained as a CNC machinist, she could earn an excellent salary after several weeks in class, without amassing a huge student loan debt.

  21. Sometimes environmental protection is needed. Lots of times it is cases like this. Work should begin tomorrow.

  22. snuss thanks for the info. I had that very discussion with a friend of mine when i was younger. I was making good money as a carpenter. I was a rock star in the field. My friend was headed to college to be a lawyer. Want to guess how this story ends? imo a degree is like the condom in your wallet. You may never need it, but it is best to have just in case. You just never know. :p

    My daughter hopefully won’t be borrowing money to go to school. She will work and pay as she goes for anything that grants and scholarships don’t cover. The dave ramsey plan. Most schools have limited money for sports scholarships. Best case she gets 50% of her schooling covered for her softball ability if she goes d1 or d2. But if she has good grades and test scores the school can find academic money to pair with the sports scholarship. Hopefully the work she has been putting in now will lead to a cheaper education in the future. If not o well. She has learned the value of hard work. At school she went from a C student to a straight A student. In softball she went from the kid no one wanted, to the kid everyone wants. If you can’t tell I ‘m a very proud papa.

  23. snuss

    @ joe, on a related note: IMHO, there are too many lawyers now, especially in elected positions. Much of the legislation passed only perpetuates the need for their profession, at the expense of the rest of us. It costs businesses nearly $2 TRILLION a year, complying with government bureaucracy.

  24. Steve Rapp

    Great comments from many of the participants here……thanks for taking notice of the problems we are facing.

    Ted-you do bring up great points and I appreciate your insight. One thing not mentioned is the cost to the 934 residents of Timberlane who are responsible for a portion of the bridge replacement funds (albeit just 10% plus design engineering to bring the total to about $136,000) but now because of the threatened species delaying the project we are also facing quite a large sum to rebuild Dawson Lake Road which is being destroyed with over 2900 cars a day. We are attempting to redesignate Dawson Lake Road to a “connector” road with the help of Rich Lundin and RMAP because the cost is too much for the Village of Timberlane to bear alone. If this does not happen there will be the strong possibility that Dawson Lake Road will face a similar closure in the future.

    I’m as concerned as the next person about the environment and threatened species as the next person but common sense has to prevail in some instances……..this being one of them!

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