Prairie grass is one of the few plants that can survive in heart of the state of Kansas. Shallow soil caused settlers to pass on the land decades ago. Transportation demands, however, are growing deeper, and BNSF has a plan in place that will allow for new track while preserving a region that attracts tourists every year.
BNSF is in the midst of a project that involves the construction of a second line of track, one that will be 42 miles long from Ellinor to El Dorado. Work is currently going on in the Flint Hills, Kan., area. The track will be laid in the railroad right-of-way, and BNSF is currently in the process of acquiring 19 parcels of land. Crews will be dealing with eight minor wetland fills, stream realignment, seven bridge projects and 36 culvert extensions.
Per a stormwater permit and through voluntary consultation with The Nature Conservancy, BNSF will be planting native grass prior to completion of the project. The Nature Conservancy will be inspecting the project in the coming days.
“This earth moving is only temporary and as we complete portions of the project we will restore the area and plant native grass according to our KDHE construction stormwater permit requirements and in voluntary consultation with The Nature Conservancy,” said BNSF spokesperson Amy Casas.
“We are also a big supporter of the ongoing efforts to preserve the tall grass prairie of the Flint Hills. Throughout the years we have donated to and worked in conjunction with The Nature Conservancy, Symphony in the Flint Hills and the Flint Hills Discovery Center in their efforts to preserve and increase the appreciation for this Kansas national treasure.”