Leaching salt killing forest near Doyles

Chantelle MacIsaac
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Where once there was rich green grass and healthy trees, there is now a salted wasteland.

This photo was taken from the T’Railway in Doyles. Salt leaching from a salt shed belonging to the Department of Transportation and Works has been killing vegetation in the area. The department is evaluating the situation.

Two patches of dead forest can be found downhill from the Transportation and Works Depot on Route 406 in Doyles.

A satellite shot taken by Google Earth in 2012 is proof that plants in the area have been dead and dying for several years. A patch of grey forest can be seen spreading out from either end of the depot’s salt shed.

One patch extends all the way to the T’Railway.

The trees in the area are dead and grey, surrounded by still-green vegetation. The ditches are full of a slimy substance.

When contacted about the dead patches, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation and Works said officials had no idea salt had been leaching out of the Doyles depot into the surrounding woodland.

He said they are exploring ways to remediate the area.

The Department of Transportation and Works moved its Codroy Valley depot to Doyles from Tompkins in 2009, but the old Tompkins depot building is still used for storage.

In November 2013, the Doyles depot salt shed suffered significant damage in a windstorm.

At that time, a spokesperson for the department said workers would replace the damaged sections.

But the building has not been repaired and subsequent windstorms have nearly destroyed the entire exterior of the building.

The Google image from 2012 is from before the building was damaged, which suggests repairs to the shed may not solve the problem of leaching salt.

When an interview with the transportation minister was requested, the departmental spokesman said more time was needed to evaluate the situation.

The Gulf News

Organizations: Department of Transportation and Works, Works Depot on Route 406, Google Gulf News

Geographic location: Doyles, Codroy Valley

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