NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

June 29, 2013

Solar project threatens bird habitat

(Continued)

Solar energy is a sensible source of renewable energy alternative to burning fossil fuels. However, proper placement to minimize environmental impact only makes sense. One only needs to drive down Rabbit Road in Salisbury to see what a “solar farm” does to the habitat for birds and other animals.

This proposed project would be built over the wet meadow wetlands and would set a terrible precedent for locating such structures over fragile wetlands habitat. Gone would be the snipe, the ducks, the other shorebirds, hawks and swallows from feeding in that area. Bobolinks, meadowlarks and grassland sparrows certainly wouldn’t nest under the panels. The vegetation would be changed at the very least, and eliminated (a la Salisbury) at the very worst.

The Parker River Clean Water Association is heading the appeal to stop this destruction of this watershed habitat. (The Little River flows through the Common Pasture.) They have the support of Mass Audubon and the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions, and have hired two consultants, one locally, one with statewide experience to help with the appeal. To help pay for their services, donations may be made to the Parker River Clean Water Association, Solar Appeal, PO Box 798, Byfield, MA 01922. If you have any questions or can help in any way, please contact Marlene Schroeder, vice president of the association, at 978-462-9062 or marlene.schroeder2@verizon.net The birds thank you!

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Steve Grinley is the owner of Bird Watcher’s Supply and Gift at the Route 1 traffic circle in Newburyport and the Nature Shop at Joppa Flats.

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