Re: Port expansion hasn't impacted bird numbers: biologist, May 11
Your optimistic frontpage article raises many more questions than answers.
It is unclear on whose behalf professor Ron Ydenberg is speaking? Is he speaking as the chairman of the independent Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), responsible for overseeing the program related to monitoring environmental impacts of the Deltaport Third Berth (DP3) expansion?
Alternatively, could he be speaking as an agent of Port Metro Vancouver (PMV), since as indicated in the article he has evidently been working with PMV on plans to more than double the size of the container port by building a second terminal (T2)?
Has the SAC actually even met and specifically discussed impacts on bird populations from DP3 and previous port developments? If so, where are these data and records to support their consensus?
If indeed the SAC has spoken, why is Ydenberg silent on the long-standing issue of bird kills resulting from the overhead powerlines along the causeway?
If this interview then is a foretaste of the final report from the SAC, why is there no mention of other potentially negative impacts attributable to DP3, such as to marine invertebrates in the area and the ominously ever-expanding, dendritic channels in the intercauseway undermining the "huge, healthy eelgrass bed" in the intercauseway area?
The article then goes on to discuss the Terminal 2 development. Presumably, Ydenberg's comments on T2 are in his role as an advisor to PMV, since the SAC has no mandate to discuss or be involved in this project?
That said, I would have expected the professor to allude to the serious negative impacts on bird populations and their migration paths that can result if Terminal 2 is developed.
Unlike the intercauseway area, the north side of the causeway provides a critical feeding ground for millions of shorebirds that travel the Pacific Flyway. These birds graze the intertidal biofilm and recent studies have been published demonstrating not only the importance of this biofilm to shorebirds but also its vulnerability to being destroyed or negatively impacted by the T2 expansion.
So why in your upbeat, good news article is there no mention of this enormous threat hanging over the entire system? Both Environment Canada and Department of Fisheries and Oceans have expressed serious concerns for the health of the Pacific Flyway and the whole Roberts Bank ecosystem should further port expansion be permitted.
So many questions, so few answers.
Roger Emsley Executive Director Against Port Expansion Community Group