Sarasota News Leader

01/25/2013

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Sarasota News Leader January 25, 2013 Page 92 Florida Power and Light (FPL), the owner of the utility pole. The pole's insulators were thought to be worn and in danger of falling off. A collision between an osprey and a live power line would have resulted in the bird's death by electrocution. If the nest is established, then the crews use bucket trucks to access it and place poles under the nest to lift it intact. The nest is moved to the ground, transported to the location of the replacement nesting platform and lifted onto that platform. FPL Media and Public Affairs Executive Greg Brostowicz explained that trained FPL crews relocate osprey nests at the requests of the FWC. Nests will also be relocated out of concern for the birds' safety or if a nest's location could cause customer service interruptions. To date, FPL has successfully relocated more than 100 osprey nests, including approximately 25 in 2012. All relocated nests are viable. Sticks that fall from the nest while it is being moved are placed with it at the relocated position. When undertaking a project such as the one on Siesta, Brostowicz wrote in an email, the relocated nest is placed on a special nesting platform, preferably a standalone pole without wires. If that is not possible, then the platform is offset from the pole with a support brace. FPL locates the nest platform as close as possible to the original nesting site, and it ensures that the nest platform is as high, if not higher, than the elevation of the original location. "We try to relocate the nests when they are not 'active'; that is, empty of eggs or chicks," he wrote. When a nest is in the early construction stage, and consists mainly of sticks that have not yet been formed into a nest, he added, FPL crews may simply remove the sticks. Ospreys are very persistent, however, and will continue to drop sticks onto the pole unless provided with a safe nesting platform nearby. Michelle van Deventer, the bald eagle coordinator for Florida Fish and Wildlife, explained that the relocation of osprey nests is carried out under a blanket permit held by FPL. The terms of that permit embody the principles set forth by the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC). According to its website, APLIC includes as members more than 30 electric utilities in the United States and Canada, as well as the Edison Electric Institute, National Rural Electrical Cooperative Association, Rural Utilities Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. FPL is an active APLIC member. Per APLIC, on Dec. 20, 2012, APLIC and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released their updated guidance document, Reducing Avian Collisions with Power Lines: State of the Art in 2012. This best-practices document, originally published in 1994, offers electric utilities and cooperatives, federal power administrations, wildlife agencies and other stakeholders specific guidance for reducing bird collisions with power lines based on the most current, published science and technical information. The Siesta ospreys have fully adjusted to their new homestead. Their relocated nest is no longer wireable for electricity, but in all other respects the pair appears to be thriving. %

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