Fireworks display under discussion: alternatives being explored
July 3, 2012 —
The American ideal of community dialogue is helping to resolve an ongoing Independence Day dilemma over the co-existence of our national bird and Narrowsburg’s annual July 4th fireworks display.
Following last week’s decision by the Lava Fire Department, sponsor of the 2012 fireworks, to cancel the event, a representative of Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther contacted Tusten Town Councilwoman Andrea Reynosa, instigating a conference call late Monday to discuss alternatives.
The conversation included Reynosa, supervisor Carol Wingert, Allison Horan from Gunther’s office, the regional director of the NY Department of Environmental Conservation Willie Janeway, and Bruce Gettel of the Lava Fire Department.
The goal was to try to save the fireworks on July 4th, and several ways that might happen were considered. One was to move the display further up the river by a half mile or so.
Another was to have the town assume the liability if something were to go wrong; and a third was to make the fireworks display less noisy.
Ultimately, those involved in the discussion opted to move the date of the fireworks display until Labor Day. At that time, the eagles would have fledged. According to Reynosa, Gunther’s office is going to hold the $3200 deposit the fire department put up for the event.
For next year, those involved may seek other dates or locations for the fireworks.
The Lava Fire Department cancelled the July 4th fireworks following an investigation conducted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The decision came after the department learned it could face penalties and fines if negative impacts occurred to the American bald eagle family, including two adults and three young, which nests in the Narrowsburg flats.
The FWS agency had no authority to cancel the display; it is
charged with enforcing the National Bald Eagle Management Guidelines specified in the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which states that Class B explosives—which include fireworks—should not be detonated within a half-mile of an active roost, or within one mile in the case of an open area such as the Delaware River. (See www.fws.gov/midwest/Eagle/guidelines/bgepa.html).
The FWS informed the Lava Fire Department and the fireworks company that a violation of the act could result in a fine of $100,000 ($200,000 for organizations), imprisonment for one year, or both, for a first offense.