I was planning on visiting Montgomery Woods after work this afternoon, but a call went out that Caltrans had begun construction of the bypass this morning along East Hill Road in Willits. By the time I arrived after work, there were about a dozen folks still standing along East Hill Road, and many more gathering at the Liberty Ponderosa. Before I arrived, Caltrans installed a few fence posts near East Hill Road, and attempted to begin bulldozing vegetation. However, a couple protesters found two birds nests in a nearby bush. The brave protesters sat in front of the nests and prevented the bulldozer from destroying the brush. The Migratory Bird Act went into effect on February 1, which supposedly makes it unlawful to disturb nest sites of migrating birds from the north until about September I believe. The protesters spoke with Highway Patrol, voiced their concern, and Highway Patrol said they would consult with Caltrans about whether they had surveyed the area for birds or contacted Fish and Wildlife. We received word later in the day that it would take a few days before Fish and Wildlife could conduct a survey.
The sign says it all
Caltrans fence posts along East Hill Road.
Personally, I don't know how all this stuff works, it's all new to me. However, construction had been halted for the day. It's clear that Caltrans has no desire to halt construction for long. As I was leaving, I saw Catrans workers putting the finishing touches on a new "Entering Construction Area" sign along the 101, about a mile before the Southern Interchange of the bypass.