08 October 2012

Contractor Fined for Tree Clearing Activity

A contractor clearing trees for the city of Lincoln, has paid a fine levied by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

After receiving a citation in late summer for removal of trees which contained bird nests, the fine of $525 was recently paid, according to John T. Brooks, in the law enforcement division of the federal agency.

Details on specifically what the contractor was cited for, would not be provided by the agency. There were also no details available on the number of nests affected and whether they were being used by birds when the tree clearing activity occurred.

Active bird nests and eggs are protected by provisions of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

When the tree clearing took place, it was reported by a local resident to personnel at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The complaint was then referred to a law enforcement agent of the federal agency, said Joel Jorgensen, the nongame biologist with the state agency. A state law protecting bird nests and eggs did apply, but the stage agency referred the event to the federal agency "allowing them to take the lead" while cooperating with the federal action.

"Based upon my knowledge of the site, it has been a known rookery" for Great Blue Herons, Jorgensen said. He was not certain whether there were active nests at the time of the complaint.

The area where the tree clearing occurred was along the Platte River, at a city of Lincoln wellfield site, along the bank of the river, in the eastern Saunders County vicinity.