Two great blue herons emerge from the foliage of a tree in Arrow Heights. As a vulnerable species, destruction of the birds along with their nests and eggs is prohibited under federal law. (Submitted)

Revelstoke environmental society urges city to protect blue herons

The North Columbia Environmental Society has voiced concerns of protective measures for vulnerable great blue herons nesting in Arrow Heights.

In a letter to city council, North Columbia president Jody Lownds requests that land owners in the neighborhood be alerted of the birds inheritance.

While the B.C. Wildlife Act does protect the trees and nest of the blue heron against destruction, Lownds has called for a more proactive rather than reactive approach to protection.

“It’s one of those things that can’t be rectified,” says Lownds. “Blue herons are very sensitive human activity, so even if it’s a neighbouring tree that’s being cut down, or even just the sounds of chainsaws, and that scares them away, then potentially you’re looking at disrupting their nesting sites that they’ve established.”

In the letter, dated June 12, 2018, Lownds asks that all owners within the area of Airport Way, Park Drive, Mountain View Drive and Nichol Road be informed by the city of the rookery and the vulnerable nature of the birds.

“Most people in the neighbourhood likely know about the rookery,” Lownds added in an email to the Revelstoke Review. “What isn’t commonly known is the potential impacts on the rookery should someone have a bonfire or burn yard waste (smoke) or decide to cut down some trees and not realize that just because they are two or three properties away from the nests that it could impact on the rookery.”

Though permits are not required for tree removal on private property according to the city, removal, alteration, disruption or destruction of vegetation involving more than 100 square metres of vegetation coverage area within the CSRD Area B does require a development permit.

The letter cites the city’s vision of “balancing environmental, social and economic values” along with other community priorities and goals as reason for action to protect the vulnerable birds.

Lownds says that an original letter was sent to council in April requesting similar notice be sent to residents, though no action was taken by the city.

Now, great blue heron eggs have hatched and more vulnerable herons occupy the rookery.

“We figured that should be an easy ask…” says Lownds. “We didn’t really get a firm commitment that they were going to do anything, and so then this most recent letter is just reiterating that there’s now 12 confirmed nests in five different trees, chicks have now hatched and so we again that the city be proactive about just educating people in that neighborhood.”

City of Revelstoke director of corporate administration Dawn Low says the letter was discussed at the Environmental Advisory Committee meeting on June 21, though the responsibility of alerting residents does not fall under the jurisdiction of the city.

According to Low, committee members are now reaching out to provincial and federal government to determine who is responsible for action.

Low also says steps are being made to look into the current lack of tree bylaws within the city in terms of private property to help protect the birds.

“What we are looking at is possibly reviewing our tree bylaw with respect to protecting the trees that they’re in,” says Low. “That’s where the city steps in.”

RELATED: Researchers looking for herons in North Columbia region

The large, vocal birds are difficult to miss in the trees they reside in near residential areas of Arrow Heights, with an average wingspan of 1.8 metres according to the ministry of environment website.

Though he says the herons are consistently loud, Arrow Heights resident Brian Gadbois says the neighborhood has been welcoming to the birds who occupy several trees around his property.

The Great Blue Heron is currently on B.C.’s blue list of vulnerable species due to its declining population and sensitivity to human activity.

The species is also protected under the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act of 1994, prohibiting the harming of birds, their nests or their eggs.


@NathanKunz1
nathan.kunz@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

A great blue heron makes its approach towards the tree it occupies in Arrow Heights. Arrow Heights resident Brian Gadbois, who lives across the street from a group of trees with nests, says he first noticed the birds moving in about a year ago. (Nathan Kunz/Revelstoke Review)

Just Posted

Revelstoke Rotary’s adventurer in citizenship recounts Ottawa trip

Revelstokian Cohen Lussier, a grade 11 student at Revelstoke Secondary School, recounted… Continue reading

Two sent to hospital following Trans-Canada accident near Revelstoke

Revelstoke RCMP report two people were sent to hospital following a three… Continue reading

Further mediated talks scheduled in casino strike

Gateway and BCGEU schedule talks for July 20-22

Extreme fire danger in the Okanagan-Shuswap

The fire danger rating hits extreme or high in areas of the Okanagan- Shuswap

Revelstoke Local Food Initiative’s Garden and Art Tour returns this Sunday

Have you ever caught yourself wondering what lies over that hedge, or… Continue reading

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Restaurant Brands International to review policy over poaching employees

One of Canada’s largest fast-food company to review ‘no-poach’ franchise agreements

Calgary family’s vacation ends in tragedy on Texas highway

Three people died and four others were injured in the crash

Union construction cost competitive, B.C. Building Trades say

Non-union firms can bid on infrastructure, but employees have to join international unions

Trudeau to shuffle cabinet ahead of Liberals’ team for 2019

Trudeau could lighten the work loads of cabinet ministers who currently oversee more than one portfolio

Car calls 911 on possible impaired B.C. driver

A luxury car automatically calls Princeton police to scene of crash involving alcohol

BC Games marks 40 years in 2018

Cowichan Games a milestone for BC Games Society

Wildfire remains out of control near Lake Country

Lake Country - The fire started near Dee Lake, southwest of Coldstream yesterday

VIDEO: Life’s a beach at this B.C. sand sculpting contest

More than $50,000 was up for grabs at the annual contest held in Parksville

Most Read