Thursday, August 18, 2011
Egrets continue to cause trouble for Carrollton residents
Nesting birds sure poop a lot.
It has been a long summer for the residents of Chamberlain Drive in Carrollton. Not only have they had to deal with the extreme heat, but they have also had to deal with new "guests."
The residents in the 1900 block of Chamberlain Drive have been overwhelmed by hundreds of migrating egrets. Under the 1918 Federal Bird Treaty Act, residents and the city are not allowed to disturb the birds once they have begun nesting.
Resident Jeff Foster, along with his neighbors, spoke to the city council months ago to ask for help with this problem. However, since the birds have nested the city is put in a difficult situation.
"Our streets and trees are white; it looks like it has snowed," Foster said referring to the egret feces. "The odor gets so bad that we can smell it in our houses now. With this streak of heat, it has made it worse."
Foster and his neighbors have been flooding the city, wildlife groups and congressmen among others asking for help. Leonard Martin, city manager for the city of Carrollton, said the city would love to go out and remove the birds and clean the streets; however, it is just not that simple.
"The birds are protected. We are working with Congressman Kenny Marchant and others to try and get some flexibility within that law so we can deal with them," Martin said. "We are looking to receive a remediation permit that could be issued to clean up without the fear of being prosecuted for disturbing the birds."
Martin said the city is allowed to clean the streets, but if they disturb or harm any of the birds, they face federal charges.
"I can tell you go run a red light, but if a police officer is there, you are going to get a ticket," Martin said.
In 1998, the city paid about $500,000 in fines after construction harmed and killed egrets. Martin said it is a reason why the city is hesitant to do anything until they receive a remediation permit.
"Do you put all the taxpayers in Carrollton in libel, plus multiple individuals involved with the city?" Martin said. "After the federal government says the birds are done nesting we will go and clean the public areas of the street."
Still, Foster and his neighbors feel they have been mistreated by the city.
"We have been offended and degraded for six months," Foster said. "When this started months ago we had no idea we would have so much trouble getting this issue resolved."
The good news for the residents of Chamberlain Drive is that the nesting period is over. Foster said he can see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, he feels something must be done so that this does not happen again next year.
"I can promise you we won't let them nest here next year. As long as they are not nesting, we can get them away," he said. "Still, the city has to do something so that this does not happen to anyone in Carrollton."
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