Date: 5/6/20 8:10 am
From: Maeve Kim <maevulus...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] The Bird That Helped Save a Swamp ...
... is back!
Years ago, two houses were built overlooking the Jericho Center beaver
pond, both too close and one actually in wetland. A neighbor complained.
The contractor hadn't applied for or received necessary permits. Legal
things moved slowly and the houses were completely done before there
were hearings. One hearing was before the Water Resources Board. People
had seen me walking back there with binoculars and asked if I happened
to have a list of birds. Of course I did! During my testimony, when I
mentioned having seen American Bitterns at the beaver pond on several
occasions, people on the WR Board stiffened. When? What months of the
year? Calling? Where exactly on the pond and wetlands? One member of the
Board explained to the gathering that bitterns are very sensitive to
light pollution. His follow-up questions to the contractor focused on
porch lights, spot lights, and yard lights.
Everything ended with a compromise: the house farthest from the wetlands
could remain but only with mitigation in the form of a row of cedars and
a change in outdoor lighting, but the other house had to be either moved
or removed. It was a financial disaster for the builder, who ended up
having to dismantle the large dwelling and move it piece by piece.
The beaver pond had faced an earlier threat: several hundred planned
"housing units" in the adjacent field. That too ended in a compromise.
There are a dozen or so houses clustered at one end and the rest of the
area is owned by that development and open for non-motorized travel.
Today we visited the beaver pond, as we often do, and listened to - and
twice saw! - an American Bittern. We also saw and heard so much more.
The pond and wetlands are a wonderful resource for wildlife and humans
Here's the whole list from today's walk:
Maeve Kim, Jericho Center
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