Most of a 400-hectare bird nesting area in Valga County has been destroyed by the use of the herbicide glyphosate, an investigation by the Agricultural Board has confirmed. The affected area is part of the flood meadows along Estonia’s Emajõgi river.
According to the investigation, the nesting are of great snipe and other bird species was destroyed by the application of the herbicide and crop desiccant, glyphosate. One of the best-known brands related to the substance is Monsanto’s Roundup.
The investigation, at the same time, confirmed that seeing as the plots in question are agricultural land, the application of the herbicide in this case wasn’t unlawful, though it found that the farmer in question violated the local water protection zone, for which they will have to pay a maximum fine of €2,000.
Ornithologists and birders had turned the media’s attention to the barren-looking area in early June. According to ornithologist at the Estonian University of Life Sciences, Leho Luigujõe, a very large part of the 400-hectare area had been sprayed with a herbicide that destroyed the nesting places of several species, and thousands of birds.
According to the Agricultural Board, the use of glyphosate is legal, and the aim of the owner of the plots in question when they sprayed the land with the herbicide was to use it for agricultural purposes.
Seeing as the area in question is in an agricultural zone, this was legal, the board confirmed. The investigation, meanwhile, is set to continue.