Construction crews praised for environmental efforts

Construction workers who normally build highways took a break from paving and earthmoving and practiced tree and plant relocation in an effort to preserve the environment at a Texas site.

Before groundbreaking began on Texas State Highway 130 in 2002, Lone Star Infrastructure, a group of engineering and construction firms, worked with the Austin community to collect wetland plants and wildlife and transfer them to safer locations.

“We performed an ‘environmental walk-through’ that informed crews of endangered plants and wildlife right before the construction took place,” said Melipa Elmore, an environmental team member with the firm. “By doing it then we did not interfere with the work.”

LSI recently relocated trees from the construction site to a local elementary school and created new waterways along the project route, protecting migratory birds, Elmore said. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality recognized the firm as a contributing organization.

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department also acknowledged the companies’ efforts. Rene Barerra, the city’s preserve manager, said the contractors’ actions set a precedent for others to preserve the state’s wildlife.

“It’s an opportunity for construction to be able to look at sustainable practices that help preserve some of our national heritage,” he said. “Wetland plants are so valuable