Science & Technology



Could a bald eagle and a winery block a proposed rock quarry along the Boise River?

Rachel Spacek, The Idaho Statesman on

Published in Science & Technology News

“Bald eagles are sensitive to human activity in the vicinity of their nest throughout the breeding season, and such activity may lead to nest abandonment or decrease the chances of successfully raising chicks,” wrote Golden Eagle Audubon Society President Daniel Salemi.

Salemi also said bald eagles are protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which prohibits anyone without a permit from “taking a Bald or Golden Eagle.” The protection act defines “take” as ”pursue, shoot, shoot at, poison, wound, kill, capture, trap, collect, molest or disturb.” Salemi suggests the mining operation would “disturb” the nesting bald eagle.

The bird groups also said there is a heron rookery, which is an area used by groups of herons for nesting and raising young, downstream from the project and that yellow-billed cuckoos, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, have been found downstream.

The Southwestern Idaho Birders Association also wrote that it is “concerned about (bird) habitat, including food sources. Bald eagles, osprey, herons, egrets, and mergansers are fish-eating birds. Fish habitat in the Boise River is already degraded from irrigation withdrawals, agricultural runoff, development, and other sand and gravel operations upriver from this location.”

Possible negative impacts to local winery and neighborhood

Stephanie Hodge is the nearly 10-year owner of Parma Ridge Winery and Bistro. She and her husband, Storm, operate the vineyard and winery, which she said was planted in 1998.

The Pintail mine would operate “just down the hill” from the winery, Hodge wrote in her opposition letter to Canyon County.

“This would destroy this picturesque view that our customers come for and instead be replaced with mounds of dirt and rock,” Hodge said. “Additionally, the level of dust in the air is of concern for our vines and their ability to ripen and produce the best fruit possible.”


Parma Ridge Winery customers also wrote to the county to express concern with the mine, which would be located less than a mile from the restaurant.

Tim and Cindy Petrucci, of Wilder, are members of the Parma Ridge Winery and wrote that the mine would “disrupt the peacefulness of this entire business.”

“This is a beautiful place to sit and over look the Parma valley below,” the couple wrote. “The folks that own the winery work extremely hard, and this would definitely affect the ambiance they are entitled to have.“

Other area homeowners worried about dust, the 45 trucks that are expected to enter the mine per day, and the fact that the operation would run 12 hours a day, six days a week.

Chad Thompson, spokesperson for Canyon County, said the Planning and Zoning Commission has not yet set a new date for the hearing.


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