Residents raise concern after osprey nest is knocked from WAPA power line | SkyHiNews.com

Residents raise concern after osprey nest is knocked from WAPA power line

A TOWERING EYESORE? That's what some Three Lakes residents are calling the new Western Area Power Administration's transmission lines that have been constructed along Highway 34 near Cutthroat Bay.
Bryce Martin / Sky-Hi News

GRANBY — Several residents along Highway 34 voiced their concern after finding an osprey nest had disappeared last week from a power transmission line between Granby and Grand Lake.

The lines, part of an ongoing project by the Western Area Power Administration, have attracted various active osprey nests as they span Highway 34 from the Windy Gap Pumping Plant in Granby to the Farr Pump Plant on Lake Granby.

Lisa Meiman, a spokesperson for the Western Area Power Administration, told Sky-Hi News on Tuesday that crews patrolling the lines came upon an osprey nest that had been partially knocked over from the wind. Crews then removed its remaining debris from the line.

“The eggs unfortunately had already fallen to the ground,” Meiman confirmed. “It was a really unfortunate situation.”

For safety and reliability purposes, according to Meiman, crews removed the remaining nesting material that was dangling from the ladder of the structure to ensure it wouldn’t contact anything electrified.

Crews have been more actively patrolling the lines with the ongoing construction to prevent nests from being completed on the lines.

Ospreys are considered a protected species under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, making active and inactive osprey nests protected under federal law. Though, active nests require federal permits for taking.

Colorado state regulations also list protections for ospreys, prohibiting surface occupancy within a quarter-mile radius of active nests, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Because of the osprey’s protected status, the Western Area Power Administration, in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service, create and install nesting platforms along the route of the transmission lines. The birds are encouraged to nest there instead. There are also barriers installed at the top of some of the transmission line towers to prevent the creation of nests.

“We try to keep them a little farther away, because if there’s no other barrier and there’s an active nest found within a quarter mile of the line, we can’t do any construction work there,” Meiman stated.

While there are still active osprey nests remaining on some areas of the transmission lines, Meiman said crews are avoiding those until the osprey fledglings are grown up and fly away from the nest.

“Power lines don’t make the greatest nesting post,” Meiman said.

Reid Armstrong, public affairs specialist for the Arapaho National Forest said the forest service is not involved in the oversight of the transmission line project particularly pertaining to osprey habitat.

“We do have a role in generally monitoring and providing habitat in the ANRA (Arapaho National Recreation Area) but not as it relates to this project,” Armstrong said.

Once the transmission power line project is completed, planned for sometime this year, Meiman said it is expected that ospreys will create nests on every single structure and “that’s fine.” At this time there are no plans to install additional nesting platforms, she added.

“It’s just while this construction is happening, we need to make sure that the ospreys are encourage to move elsewhere,” she said.


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