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Uncommon Sense: ‘Restoration’ looks like a clearcut
I’m not an artist but I know what I like. Similarly, I’m not an environmental scientist but I know when my house plant is dead.
And when I ride my bicycle along the dike and see what looks like a modern art exhibition in the middle of what looks like the aftermath of a monster truck rally, it’s pretty easy to determine it’s not environmentally friendly.
As a reporter, it’s important for me to stay balanced and objective and provide fair opportunity for comment from all sides. I strive to stay in the center of balance on most issues, but sometimes it’s just too dang difficult.
Take the recent so-called Habitat Banking project on the foreshore of Boundary Bay. It is apparently a salt marsh restoration project involving the removal of thousands of contaminated anthropogenic logs that will allow for fish and flowers to flourish.
The project was approved by at least four environmental agencies that employ people with science degrees that I don’t have.
Fair enough, I’m not a science guy. But I do know what I like. And the current hack job that is the salt marsh restoration project going on down at Boundary Bay is difficult to like.
Construction crews have been running heavy machinery back and forth across the foreshore like some kind of gigantic John Deere lawnmowers, while removing anything that remotely resembles wood. They’ve left a few awkwardly placed logs in the marsh sticking out of the ground like candles on a birthday cake.
Those logs were left for the raptors that might want to perch and look for food. But whether that food is still hanging around following the “environmental restoration” remains to be seen.
There’s another question as to whether there are enough perches left to handle the influx of migratory birds that arrive each year. As one log removal protester dryly put it, “so long as only three snowy owls show up this season that’ll be fine.”
Destroying wildlife habitat to create wildlife habitat is one of those things I guess a non-science guy like me just can’t understand. It’s sort of like going to war to make peace, spending money to make money, or robbing Peter to pay Paul.
I’m sure the salt marsh will eventually regrow and not look ugly and ruinous, as it does right now, but I wonder whether it was all worthwhile. Was it worth destroying the existing habitat, angering local residents, and giving everybody an eyesore even Richmond residents would flinch to see?
I think not.