Officials in an Oregon town have canceled its annual fireworks show out of concern the pyrotechnics will scare the protected sea birds roosting in the area.
According to Fox News, the town of Depoe Bay canceled its annual fireworks show in a decision on July 3. This came after federal wildlife managers applied pressure to town officials, claiming the noise disrupts the birds. The cancelation has upset many businesses because they'll lose foot traffic from visitors coming to see the fireworks show.
The conflict began in 2010, after a local resident complained to the Fish and Wildlife Service that the show disrupts the sea birds.
According to the Oregonian, it was determined a study should be done, and last July 3 it was decided the birds would be observed during the show. Personnel from a federal wildlife agency used aerial photography, video footage and the naked eye to see how birds reacted to the fireworks.
"We did document disturbance, including nests that were lost," Chuck, a federal wildlife manager told the Oregonian.
So this year the show was canceled, and many locals are upset. A new location to have the fireworks show was suggested, but turned out not to be an option. City officials are questioning the study, but the Oregon Parks and Recreation decided not to issue the city a permit, which gave the city no choice but to cancel the show.
"It's a great loss to our community," Peggy Leoni, co-owner of Trollers Lodge, a small motel in Depoe Bay, reported the Oregonian. She said her business has suffered with the controversy. Normally booked, this year she had available rooms, with one guest, who'd booked for the week, canceling reservations upon learning the fireworks show was not happening.
KATU reported the reactions of local residents, who are not happy.
Federal wildlife officials say the decision was not taken lightly.
"We all live in these little communities and we know events that bring cash and tourists in are extremely important," Chuck said. "So this matters to us."
The fireworks have been a tradition since 1993, always on July 3 so as to not compete with "better-funded" areas on the fourth.