License May Be Answer To Orleans’ Cedar Pond Problems

Cormorant spreading the wings to dry in the sun

Cormorant spreading the wings to dry in the sun

ORLEANS – The answer to the Town of Orleans’ cormorant problem at Cedar Pond could be a license found by the town’s attorney.

Attorney Michael Ford told Orleans selectmen that he found a state Chapter 91 license from 1957.

The license states that approval for putting the wires above the pond was conditional and that after a public hearing, the state could require the wires to be replaced or put under the pond.

Town officials and residents are trying to clean up Cedar Pond because more than 800 cormorants who rest on the electrical wires, defecate into the water underneath them.

Eversource met with state and town officials recently to discuss burying the wires but estimated the cost to do so at around $1 million per wire, with the town picking up the tab.

There are eight to nine wires that hang above Cedar Pond.

“The question comes into account now who pays to do that,” said Orleans Selectman John Hodgson. “Obviously the Town of Orleans doesn’t feel like we should be paying for it.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture set off pyrotechnics last month to scare the birds from the wire but town officials called off the program.

The USDA said that the program resulted in a 70 percent reduction in birds seen on the wires.

Hodgson does not see it as an accomplishment.

“That was a major disappointment in my eyes,” said Hodgson. “They promised $6,500 and that this would deter 70 percent of the birds. They would leave the lines for this season, and maybe they would come back and do the pyrotechnics again next year just to get it to sync and it just failed miserably.”

Ford has been asked by selectmen to get more information on the license and to investigate the matter further.

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