Working together, Georgia Power and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are establishing new osprey nesting platforms near Lake Altoona.
Ospreys are large, fish-eating raptors with a wingspan of more than 5 feet. The birds spend the spring and summer in Georgia before traveling to Central and South America for the winter, according to a Fall 2013 Georgia Power release.
In 1995, a nesting pair of osprey made home in the top of a dying pine tree near Victoria Day Use Area on Allatoona Lake. Ospreys utilized the same nest in 1996 and 1997. According to Georgia Department of Natural Resources biologists, it was one of only two nests known in North Georgia at that time, according to a Corps release. In 1998, the tree began to decay and fall apart, endangering the nest. To provide a lasting nest site, Corps Park Rangers planned to erect poles with nesting platforms on top. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers partnered with the Georgia Power Company to secure 40-foot poles, equipment and assistance in erecting the poles.
Two more nesting platforms were put in place last month, according to Georgia Power. They consist of 50-foot long wooden utility poles with metal platforms refurbished from old metal bed frames. Steel Materials in Cartersville powder coated the platform frame for durability.
The Georgia Power-Corps of Engineers partnership goes back more than a decade when the two placed platforms for about 10 osprey nests in the same general area—around Lake Allatoona near Emerson in Bartow County. Almost all of these are still used by the birds. Plans for the current project call for placing at least six to eight more platforms later this year.
Local Georgia Power employees such as Candler Ginn, Distribution Resources project manager, wholeheartedly support the project, explaining in a release that “this helps the entire life cycle. It helps to re-establish native species that have been displaced due to urban growth.”
At one point the osprey was considered an endangered species. Georgia Power has been active in efforts to restore the osprey population, providing more than 25 nesting platforms statewide.
“We’re certainly happy to join the Corps of Engineers and Steel Materials in creating new nesting sites for the ospreys,” Jamie Hockin, Cartersville area manager, said in the release. “Activities such as providing new habitat have helped to increase the population of this beautiful bird.”
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