A pair of rare peregrine falcons have returned to their nesting site at an Abbotsford quarry, resulting in increased concerns from opponents about their safety. (PHOTO: #savebcfalcons Instagram page)

A pair of rare peregrine falcons have returned to their nesting site at an Abbotsford quarry, resulting in increased concerns from opponents about their safety. (PHOTO: #savebcfalcons Instagram page)

Concerns escalate about rare peregrine falcons as blasting set for Abbotsford quarry

Opponents worried after birds return to nesting site at quarry on Quadling Road

Concerns have escalated about a rare peregrine falcon nest at an Abbotsford quarry that is currently undergoing “emergency work” approved by the city.

An Instagram page titled “Save BC Falcons” says that a pair of peregrine falcons have returned to the site and are currently nesting there, just as blasting work is set to take place Thursday (May 13).

The page indicates that the birds returned to the quarry – located at 40251 Quadling Rd. in northeast Abbotsford at the base of Sumas Mountain – when operations stopped there for several days last week.

Mountainside Quarries is currently responsible for the site’s operation.

One of the permits to do the work at the quarry sets a 50-metre no-disturbance buffer around the nest, but opponents say that, although the blasting is set to occur within 100 metres of the nest, it will have an impact within the 50-metre zone.

“The blasting will disturb the nesting on the site and pressure waves from the blast will likely damage any eggs in all of the nests,” the Instagram post states.

“These peregrine falcons are just trying to live their lives and the quarry is making it impossible for them to live in peace.”

A spokesman with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) said Wednesday that Mountainside is permitted to do blasting outside of the 50-metre zone.

“FLNRORD representatives have required Mountainside to not blast within 100 metres, as per recommendations of their Qualified Environmental Professional, although this is not a requirement,” the spokesman said in an email to The Abbotsford News.

“FLNRORD has also notified Mountainside that they must take all necessary precautions to ensure that blasting outside the 50-metre buffer does not cause disturbance within the buffer (e.g., due to debris from blasting or movement of rocks from blasting vibrations).”

The current “emergency work” at the quarry was approved by the city and includes construction of an access road to complete required scaling and site stabilization.

Mountainside plans to remove 450,000 cubic metres of rock over seven years.

RELATED: Should rare peregrine falcon nest make way for re-opening of Abbotsford gravel quarry?

RELATED: City of Abbotsford to hold public meeting about quarry on Quadling Road

Concerns from opponents first arose when Mountainside indicated in 2019 that it wanted to resume operations on the quarry. The site was abandoned in 2012, when a stop-work order and bankruptcy brought operations to a hasty end.

But the company said operations need to resume because massive rocks bounce down the cliff and into the public right-of-way, threatening the safety of anyone using Quadling Road, including those who park on the road of access a nearby boat launch.

The proposal drew staunch opposition from people concerned about the location of the peregrine falcon nest at the base of the mountain.

The birds are on the province’s “red list” for threatened or endangered species, and the provincial Wildlife Act specifically protects the nests of peregrine falcons, along with five other prominent birds. Biologists believe only a couple dozen of the birds live in the Lower Mainland. They say the Abbotsford pair produce “above average” numbers of fledglings and are the “most successful” from Hope to the Port Mann Bridge.

The province issued a mine permit for the quarry in the spring of 2020, but, in order for activity at the quarry to restart, a permit was also required for the removal of the nest.

That permit was approved by FLNRORD in January 2021.

RELATED: Company gets OK to remove rare peregrine falcon nest from Abbotsford quarry

Among the conditions of the permit is that Mountainside was to create new on-site nest ledges and establish new nest boxes and monitor them for five years.

A FLNRORD spokesman said at the time that “the mitigation to be completed is reasonable to address the relative risks to these falcons and the local species population.”



vhopes@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Environmentmining

Just Posted

File photo
Surrey Board of Trade vows ‘a lot of noise’ will be made about tax increases

Huberman calls for comprehensive tax review at all levels of government

A butterfly takes a rest on some flowers in a hanging basket in one of three entries in the 2021 Sunshine Hills Community Group Virtual Garden Show by “flowers flowers flowers” category winner Tammy S. (Tammy S./Facebook photo)
18 winners named in North Delta virtual garden show

2021 Sunshine Hills Community Group Virtual Garden Show ran May 28 to June 4

William Henry Rawlison was last seen on Sunday, June 20, 2021. (Contributed photo)
Police looking for missing White Rock senior

William Rawlison, last seen on June 20, may be driving to Kamloops

(James Smith photo)
North Delta crime beat, week of June 7

A selection of property crimes submitted weekly by the Delta Police Department

Earl Marriott Mariners football coach Michael Mackay-Dunn (centre, wearing white hat) is retiring from teaching and coaching. (EMS Football photo)
Longtime Earl Marriott Secondary teacher, football coach retires

Michael Mackay-Dunn hangs up coaching whistle after 22 years

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Most Read