BOSTON—The Department of Conservation and Recreation found strong opposition from a small group of environmental activists, who claimed that the DCR is using the restoration of the B.U. Bridge as a guise to intentionally destroy the last sanctuary of the Charles River white geese.

Robert LaTrémouille spearheaded that attack on the DCR at the public hearing held last night at Boston University. The meeting was meant to unveil the DCR's plans for the bridge renovation but more than two hours of the meeting was spent on the question-and-answer period. LaTrémouille was standing by the microphone with a scripted speech even before the DCR spokesman began taking questions.

“In the past five years, the DCR, through its agents, has destroyed every piece of vegetation between the BU Bridge and the BU Boathouse,” LaTrémouille said, “except for the vegetation…which this project proposes to destroy.” He claimed that the DCR’s proposed staging area, just east of the bridge, is a deliberate attempt to exterminate the white geese.

Renovation on the B.U. Bridge sidewalks has already begun, and a staging area for raw materials and equipment is located beneath the Reid Overpass, on Memorial drive. The area has been fenced off and does not interfere with the habitat of the white geese, according to a May press release by the DCR. However, a three-way fork and an intersection divide the staging area from the B.U. Bridge, making it less convenient than the area directly east of the bridge.

“If use of the staging area under Memorial drive delays the project, that is the fault of the DCR,” LaTrémouille said, adding that if the current staging area is good for the sidewalk project, it should be good for the remainder of the restoration.

Lakes and Ponds Coordinator James Straub was at the public meeting and tried to abate LaTrémouille’s concerns but received shouts of “Nonsense! Nonsense!” when he responded that the white geese would endure the DCR’s temporary encroachment.

“I have not encountered this gentleman before,” Straub said in an email, “but [I] can say that there are many people that have similar environmental concerns across the state.”

Straub said that animal inhabitants always return to the site after construction unless the DCR continuously chases them away. Constructing fences or scaring the geese away with trained dogs are the methods used “99 percent of the time,” Straub said. Currently, the DCR does not plan to permanently remove the geese.

“My goal is to try and show them that DCR wants the best for the environment and that we would not harm wildlife that is such a resource to the aesthetics of the area,” Straub said, “[but] there are times when people’s safety has to take priority over other issues.”

"I'm sure we'd all like get home to catch the end of the [Red Sox] game," said Deputy Commissioner Jack Murray after about an hour of questions. "Or at least make use of the lull in traffic."

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