Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Great Blue Heron Clings to Narrow Remains of Destroyed Wildlife Habitat

Charles River, Cambridge MA: Department of Conservation and Recreation and Charles River Conservancy demonstrate how to remove a Great Blue Heron, by destroying natural habitat at the meadow at the BU Bridge.

Beautiful Great Blue Heron clings to sanctuary at razed wildlife habitat at the hidden gem of an Urban Wild, the Goose Meadow at the BU Bridge. Great Blue Herons are endangered by human activity and loss of habitat, such as the "vision" of the Charles River Conservancy, Cambridge MA, that seeks to remove all the messy "bushes" along the Charles, remove all understory, and "dead" trees.

The statuesque form and elegant plumage of the Great Blue Heron make this one of nature's finest achievements. It is not surprising that its Asian relatives have figured prominently in Chinese and Japanese art for centuries. While the sight of the Great Blue Heron in motionless contemplation of a potential meal or sailing majestically across a vast salt marsh is always a rare treat, the species is presently becoming more common in New England.

The Great Blue Heron is relatively quiet compared to other members of its family. The heron releases a soft "kraak" when it is disturbed and in flight. Other calls of the heron include a "fraunk" when the bird is disturbed near its nest, and an "ar" when the heron is greeting other members of its species.

Although the DCR needed a Chapter 91 license for the work here, they proceeded without it. They have destroyed the nesting area that was nearest the BU Bridge. They cut down healthy living trees and bushes, and cleared away "old" nests." They erected barriers so wildlife cannot come up onto the banks from the Charles River.

The Charles River Estuary lies on the International North Atlantic Flyway, and hosts those water birds that continue to migrate, as well as those who have sought sanctuary here due to climate change.

The DCR has repeatedly lied in public hearings and in their written documents, falsely claiming that there is no habitat here, and no wildlife. Clearly, this Great Blue Heron is fishing from the among the remaining false indigo (Amorpha fruticosa).

The DCR maintains that the vegetation they are removing is nothing more than weeds, and is not suitable habitat for the Great Blue Heron, much less any other wildlife. They are clearly wrong.

The DCR has clear-cut the banks of the Charles River, so bike riders can have a nice view of the river, thereby destroying habitat all along the river.

We at CIPAPA are trying to get our elected officials to stop this unlawful and immoral destruction of this precious Urban Wild. However, it would appear that the real estate developers, the contractors who want to build a highway, and the Universities have donated to the campaign war chests of our elected representatives or otherwise benefited them, clouding their critical thinking skills, and making them blind to violations of Mass State Law, the Wetlands Protection Act.

Can you imagine what would happen if wildlife habitat like this was destroyed in Alaska under Gov. Sarah Palin, or in Florida under Jeb Bush? Would not the progressives, the liberal Democrats scream in outrage? Why then, in liberal, Democratic, progressive Cambridge, MA, do they turn their backs on our precious wildlife and thereby permit and even engage in habitat destruction?

I have been informed it is because the DCR wants to put a stormwater drainage system from the BU Bridge adjacent to the Goose Meadow right through the Goose Meadow. However, there is a water treatment plant also adjacent to the BU bridge in Cambridge, right on the other side. Why can't they link to that? Or drain it into the drains they already have on the Memorial Drive highway?

I was told by Jennifer Wright, Cambridge Conservation Commission, in a phone conversation this week, that there is not enough room there on the other side of the bridge. My response is there is not enough room at the Goose Meadow without destroying the wildlife habitat. So, instead of connecting to the water treatment plant, they are destroying the wildlife habitat. And eliminating the wildlife, like this beautiful Great Blue Heron.

Are Obama's stimulus dollars being used for this destruction of the natural wildlife habitat? Do Obama supporters care about it? Are they committed to preserving and protecting wildlife habitat in this era of climate change and habitat loss?

We at CIPAPA strongly oppose the destruction of the Urban Wild on the East side of the BU Bridge, and urge Governor Deval Patrick NOT to sign the Chapter 91 License that will result in ongoing habitat destruction and removal of these beautiful Great Blue Herons from the Charles River Estuary forever. A Great Blue Heron, possibly this same bird, was also photographed in April of this year, and one is still here in September, and may be resident or migrating, or using a partial, or modified migratory pattern due to climate change.

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