Bald Eagle Nest Loss + Mitigation Procedures – “Speak for Eagles”   

Notes by David Hancock made in relation to BC Wildlife Act:    

When and how to Mitigate Bald Eagle Habitat Loss.

These are my thoughts on how conservationists might approach some egregious harm, disrespect and outright violation to our ecologically sustainable world.  I specifically review how a new Provincial Government is actually saying  “We must work to reduce the rate of ecological destruction as our long-term future is constantly being eroded and our future productivity is constantly being reduced by short-term actions today.”  My interpretation of the BC Government’s  recent change of focus.

August 2018:  Mitigating losses from Bald Eagle Nest Take-Down 

Outline:  I am posting how FLNR (the BC Government Department in charge) has currently approached the cutting down of the Croydon Drive Bald Eagle Nest.

(a)   Their  WITHOUT PREJUDICE   letter …   https://hancockwildlife.org/bc-letter-without-prejudice-croydon/

(b)  My summary of Pertinent Clauses of the BC Wildlife Act as a guide to how Conservation groups or individuals might approach supporting mitigation.

 

My personal editorial comments:

LIKE  WOW !      Nothing I have read or dealt with in the past 65 years suggests that the Government  is now  taking a longer term approach to our quality of life and how development must protect habitats so we can live successfully for 5, 50 and maybe  500 years.  It is like we finally realize the world does have guiding principle – if we don’t put development to a ‘ecological sustainability test’  we are only  reducing  every neighbours quality of life and length of life.

 

MY RANT:   So think of the BC Wildlife Act as a tool in city or regional zoning.  Zoning allows us to organize the land to be fully ecologically sustainable and most enjoyable for living.  Zoning  also,   if  “greed driven developers get their way”,  allows more productive farmland to be converted to houses, extensive truck and rail warehousing for more unnecessary crap to travel to Chicago  & eastward or for another unnecessary shopping center.  This  is TOTALLY at the control of local citizens.  If you want more parks, forests, swamps and shorelines demand it. If you want to reduce the costs of services, bring down the cost of roads, power, police or medical costs then keep our human population smaller.  It is only the lies of that tiny group of people who profit from expanding development that keep boosting up the costs of all the support services that the rest of us have to pay. It is also these ever expanding developments that destroy our ecologically sustainable surroundings.  Grow food, parkland, wild habitat or even an eagles nest – not another housing or commercial subdivision.  Live longer!

 

A CHANGE IS OFFERED:   TODAY  —  just right now —  our  Provincial Government is  laying out how we as citizens can help protect wildlife and habitat and realize ecological sustainability – perhaps even catch up on past sins.   This FLNR approach can obviously be considered both a “Stick and a Carrot” : a very severe “Stick“ that could greatly affect the violator for the rest of his life, and not just with immediate and huge monetary penalty ,  SO the “Carrot” offers the developers  a “Voluntarily incentive” to offer to do better for the Wildlife and Habitat “than face the Stick”!   It is our demanded cooperation of our City Governments that can enforce that Stick.

 

Two Guiding Documents:   Enough is enough!

(a)   FLNR   “WITHOUT PREJUDICE”   letter by Ian Blackburn, Resource Manager, South Coast Region FLNR regarding the destruction of:  Active Bald Eagle Nest at Croydon Drive at 20th Avenue, Surrey, BC:     This letter must be read!  This letter can be read here :  https://hancockwildlife.org/bc-letter-without-prejudice-croydon/

 

(b)  Hancock summary of Pertinent Clauses of BC Wildlife Act as a guidance to how Conservation groups or individuals might approach supporting  mitigation.

 

1. Purpose of the Wildlife Act:

 To protect British Columbia’s wildlife and its habitat  — the Act to insure  we keep:  Super Natural British Columbia – ‘Super’.  Dh

The Act outlines some very specific protections to Bald Eagles, Peregrines, herons, burrowing owls gyr – on any part of season,  but most importantly it is focused on protecting ecologically sustainable habitat – that means forever!

  

2.  KEY  “BC Wildlife Act”  Clause addressing:   Violation  ­­

 

            Full ACT on WEB:   http://www.bclaws.ca/Recon/document/ID/freeside/00_96488_01

 

Some pertinent Clauses of BC Wildlife Act:

 Birds, nests and eggs

34  A person commits an offence if the person, except as provided by regulation, possesses, takes, injures, molests or destroys

(a)  a bird or its egg,

(b)  the nest of an eagle, peregrine falcon, gyrfalcon, osprey, heron or burrowing owl, or  NOTE:  {{and  (b) applies to any part of season or for any reason !- dh as explained to me by Jack Evans}}

(c) the nest of a bird not referred to in  paragraph (b) when the nest is occupied by a bird or its egg.

3. How to Apply these Laws to Protecting the Wildlife

Here are some current ways for the public to think and evaluate the full impact that disturbance of Bald Eagles can have and how this disturbance can be used to save the eagles and the habitat – this is but one government perspective from one type of disturbance.

Concerned Citizen OBJECTIVES:

  1. To document wildlife values lost as a result of multiple unlawful/vandalism acts and subsequent felling of a Bald Eagle nest tree.   What are the full natural attributes of the habitat surrounding the bald eagle nest? What other migratory or ?? plants species use this area?
  1. Provide a recommendation for nest tree replacement. Hancock Wildlife Foundation has extensive experience in modifying trees so eagle can nest in an otherwise unsatisfactory tree to installing temporary poles and nests until new trees grow.  Some examples can be found here on our Consulting page: https://hancockwildlife.org/consulting-services/
  1. Provide long term habitat protection recommendations for a vegetated disturbance buffer to surround an artificial eagle nest structure. “Get a Bald Eagle Preserve to save eagles and other wildlife for future generations”. The final mitigation should include follow-up monitoring.  Again, HWF has examples of setting up Bald Eagle Preserves, treasured habitat or setting aside Parks.  
  1. KEY FINES  for Violation:   ­­

First, the key is often stopping the violation by phoning the two levels of government.  Then go to the  “potential offender if they are known,  and go to the press.

 

(i)   the Local City – Environmental Department or Zoning

(ii)  the BC Provincial Government – Conservation Officer

 

Then:  (iii)  to the violator if known  – seek politely the termination of the bad act.

(iv)   to local Conservation groups – Natural History Clubs

– they often have media contacts.

(v)    to the PRESS –  TV, Radio and local and regional papers.

 

Be armed with:

  1. Documented images and videos of the violation – for the record & media
  2. Copies of the pertinent BC Wildlife Act Clause — above.
  3. Copies of the potential 3 levels of  Fines –  ! ! !  — below .
  4. A plan to rally the Public to the cause !  Have a focusing group – person.
  5. KEEP  AT  IT !!

 

5. Fines for Violation of BC Wildlife Act – can be ONEROUS!  —–  REALLY ONEROUS!

The amount of a Fine, even the adding in accumulative levels of fines,  while basically laid out by the BC Wildlife Act, can be enormous.  The actual interpretation is going to be totally dependent upon the will of the local people – in a way ‘telling the Prosecutor what is worthy and needed.’  .   The public’s level of protest and levels of continuing to allow irresponsible violations of our wildlife and habitats will drive the consequences – largely determine the mitigation.    If the violation can be proven the ‘in charge’ Conservation Officer  for the Ministry will take the data collected, and I hate to say – test the wind of the community  — and go forward harshly or less so  …  if the public is not pressing for Mitigation.

 

 An incredible test:  Ask your local government person standing for election: 

Are you going to put a “test of Ecological Sustainability”  to every Council decision? If not,  you won’t vote for them !    ((Note:  lets start a Thread to discuss this ! ))

Today, with the past 50 years of so much degradation of the surrounding habitat, its conversion to houses, subdivisions, businesses storage yards, farms  and roads it is essential we halt the rate of destruction or we will not have   “Super Natural British Columbia” .  Or??

The potential fines as you can see in reading the Act can be enormous:  not just a few $1000 or a few days in jail – the normal mitigation  —  BUT literally millions of dollars and the setting aside of a huge block of “mitigated habitat”.   The Creative sentencing can involve  “Variations and Additional Fines that are designed to punish and retrieve habitat values”  that have been diminished by the violation.

These fines are designed to return to the public any value gained by the violator from his beastly act.  Destroying valuable habitat, a heron colony, an eagle nest or key nesting or migratory habitat to convert it to a Subdivision, industrial purpose or docks can give the developer millions of dollars in increased value  — ALL retrievable via the ACT.

The whole BC Wildlife Act is available:    http://www.bclaws.ca/Recon/document/ID/freeside/00_96488_01

 

My summarized and editorialized version of key sections of  ACT are available at:  www.hancockwidlife.org/ BC Wildlife Act-Mitigation

 

Categories of Violation Fines:

 

  1. Normal fines: not usually more than a few thousand dollars – rarely jail.
  2. Creative Sentencing: these are to specifically relate the violation to the violator who has done something so he might benefit by the loss of the habitat or eagles or herons nest.  This , like most fines,  is optionally dependent upon the CO prosecuting the violation representing the publics outrage to the Judge and requesting this kind of fine.
  3. Variations and Additional Fines: these again,  are to relate – and take back as a fine or though some ‘creative action’  any benefit the violator received from his violation.  The common examples are  If the violator sold some bear parts then his  fine should not just be the normal fines but include “Extra Fine” to retrieve back the violators extra benefits  — the money he got for selling the bear parts.

Another application is if the violator destroyed some specific wildlife item and in doing so he benefitted by changing the value of the land since it no longer contained that valuable  Provincial protected item, then the State should take back through these Creative options his new-found value. ie: a change in property value might result from ‘taking down’  a protected Bald Eagle Nest or removal of a Great Blue Heronry.   The ‘Creative interpretation’  of these ‘Additional Fines’  might well be satisfied by formation of a bigger piece of Park than might have otherwise been offered. “Why not a Bald Eagle Preserve”  to benefit all wildlife for generations to come.  This violation could cost the violator millions of dollars!

AGAIN,  these fines are optional and totally dependent upon the CO prosecuting the violation and seeking this resolution in the presentation to the Judge.  This is going to reflect how the local public wishes to allow the continued degradation of our habitat  — or do we stop it!!

NOTE:  In addition to giving the url to the BC Wildlife Act, the above ‘singular approach to seeking mitigation, particularly for the removal of a bald eagle nest, our Hancock Wildlife Foundation is setting up a Forum Thread for the public to report violations or discuss different approaches in different areas.  This is your Forum so use it!

Croydon Bald Eagle Nest Mitigation:

Hancockwilddlife.org:  our Web Site has expanding Forums to specifically discuss:

 

    1. Croydon Bald Eagle Nest Mitigation Effort: https://forum.hancockwildlife.org/viewforum.php?f=105&sid=7571115454e928041d6d0103bf18af8d
    2. Miscellaneous comments on this Croydon site: https://hancockwildlife.org/hancock-here/croydon-nest-takedown/
    3. Other Bald Eagle Nest sites being Treatened:  (new Threads that will be opened if requested on any nest site)

    Help keep Super Natural British Columbia SUPER.

     

    Thanks

    David Hancock ,   

    Director,  Hancock Wildlife Foundation

     

     

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