New Brunswick

Heron colony will be protected: J.D. Irving

Forestry company J.D. Irving Ltd. is closing a logging road that was recently built through a great blue heron nesting colony on its land near Cambridge Narrows.

Forestry company J.D. IrvingLtd. isclosing a logging road that was recently built through a great blue heron nesting colony on land the company owns near Cambridge Narrows.

CBC reported this week that the road destroyed several nests and disrupted a large colony when it was built last July.

The Canadian Wildlife Service is investigating the matter and saysthe company may have violated federal law protecting migratory birds. No charges have been laid.

Documents filed with provincial court in Saint John say a Natural Resources conservation officer found six nests had been destroyed.

Company spokeswoman Mary Keithsaid Thursday that J.D. Irving is co-operating fully with the CWS investigation, and will try to protect what is left of the nesting area.

"There will be boulders within the next couple of weeks placed in front of that road. We want to provide a situation where there is the best opportunity to ensure the return of the herons.

"There is a limited amount of wood that would already be roadside. That will be removed, and the road will be decommissioned and there will be no harvesting for at least one year," she said.

Keith says a permanent 400-metre buffer has been established around the nesting site.

In a letter to people who live near the property, the company outlined its plans to make it easier for the herons to repopulate the colony.

Neighbour Robena Weatherley belongs to the local watershed association and is a former forest biologist. She is skeptical about the company's plans and saysthe measures fall short of what's needed to protect the nesting area.

"I think the road will have to be made impassable to all vehicles and I wouldn't think a few boulders would do it, and I would suspect that some of the buffer that's being offered may not actually be on Irving land," she said.