Bernheim Forest land

Bernheim Forest conservation land

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest says it has discovered a group of “globally imperiled” snails on land where Louisville Gas & Electric wants to build a natural gas pipeline.

In a blog posted Wednesday, Bernheim conservation director Andrew Berry wrote that the bluff vertigo snails were found May 10 by researchers on a rock outcrop. It was the latest population identified at the forest.

The snails were first documented on Bernheim property in 2013 in the Cave Hollow area, where officials are planning the Cedar Grove Wildlife Corridor, he added. They have been noted in fewer than 30 places in the world, including three areas at Bernheim.

“Construction of the proposed natural gas pipeline would likely destroy the entire Cedar Creek population,” Berry wrote.

The natural gas transmission line would cut through land the forest has assembled for conservation and research. In February, Bernheim’s board of trustees unanimously voted to oppose the pipeline and refuse to sell an easement for its construction.

The pipeline “would destroy forests, springs, streams, and outcroppings that include critical habitat for imperiled wildlife species, including four federally endangered plants and animals,” Berry wrote.

The Kentucky Public Service Commission approved the pipeline in 2017, but Bernheim and other Bullitt County residents concerned about its impact have asked for a more thorough environmental review.

Tom FitzGerald, an attorney representing the Isaac W. Bernheim Foundation, said Tuesday he will be filing a request for an environmental assessment with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the next week.

The Corps is working with other agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a review of endangered or threatened species in the proposed pipeline area.

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Reach reporter Marcus Green at 502-585-0825, mgreen@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2019 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.

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Marcus Green joined WDRB News in 2013 after 12 years as a staff writer at the Louisville Courier-Journal. He reports on transportation, development and local and state government.