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

The theme for this year’s Fraser Valley Regional Library Summer Reading Club is “Crack the Case” and Katie Burns, community librarian at the Chilliwack Library, is encouraging people of all ages to sign up. She is seen here at the Chilliwack Library on Friday, June 18, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Crack the case, read, win prizes with FVRL Summer Reading Club

‘Immerse yourself in other worlds and have a bit of fun while you do it,’ says Chilliwack librarian

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Holger Schwichtenberg and his son Philip talk in the barn of the 150-acre Schwichtenberg farm. This farm is one of many throughout B.C. that support more than 12,500 jobs across the province in the dairy industry. (Contributed Photo/B.C. Dairy Association)
Agassiz dairy farm a model of care for environment, animals, and family

Farm is part of a dairy sector centred in the Fraser Valley, supporting 12,500 jobs province-wide

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Woman’s 100-km birthday marathon from Chilliwack to Abbotsford will benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A police pursuit involving Abbotsford Police ended in Langley Saturday night, June 20. (Black Press Media file)
Abbotsford Police pursuit ends in Langley with guns drawn

One person arrested, witnesses say an officer may have been hurt in collision with suspect vehicle

(file)
Pedestrian hit by police vehicle in Langley

Injuries described as serious, requiring surgery

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Most Read