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Purple Line Faces New Obstacle: Endangered Shrimp-Like Creature

Groups opposed to the Purple Line light rail project in Montgomery County say it will damage a local stream that is a home to an endangered shrimp-like species.

The Chevy Chase Town Council has voted to give $10,000 to the group Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail so it can pay an American University professor to study how construction of the light rail system will impact the Maryland section of the Rock Creek, which is downstream from the Purple Line's proposed route.

Todd Hoffman, the Chevy Chase town manager, says the project could destroy an endangered crustacean known as the Hay’s Spring amphipod and two other similar species that live in the stream.

"We're not going to know the specific impacts on the ecosystem until these endangered species might be gone. So we feel it is worthwhile — the Council feels it is worthwhile — to establish this baseline data so we know what is present in Rock Creek with respect to endangered species," he says.

Purple Line advocate Tina Slater says the federal environmental impact statement has already dealt with this issue.

"The Federal Transit Administration and the Maryland Transit Administration have consulted with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Maryland Department of Natural Resources regarding the Endangered Species Act, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined the project will have no impact on the protected species," she says.

Maryland recently learned the Purple Line will receive federal funding, and construction is scheduled to start next year.

Disclosure: WAMU 88.5 is licensed to American University.

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