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Delaware Ospreys Get New Nesting Homes

Thursday, June 09, 2005

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kathleen Jamison, DNREC, at 302-739-9902
or Bridget Shelton, Delmarva Power, at 302-283-5808

Environmental groups, Delmarva Power spearhead effort

SMYRNA, Del. - Some friendly birds have new homes thanks to a joint effort involving Delmarva Power, the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife, the Delaware Department of Transportation and the Delmarva Ornithological Society.

Delmarva Power recently installed two new osprey nesting platforms in Delaware, one at Woodland Beach Wildlife Management Area and the other at the Island Cary Farm wetland site on the St. Jones River. Both sites are on state-owned property.

Later this spring Delmarva Power will install another osprey nesting platform at the Augustine Wildlife Management Area near Odessa.

The structures are 80-foot transmission poles donated by Delmarva Power. Each pole features a 3x3-foot nesting platform secured to the top of the pole. The platforms were donated by the Delmarva Ornithological Society. They were placed in the marsh habitats by a sky crane helicopter, which Delmarva Power is also using to assist with the construction of a new 230-kilovolt line along the Delmarva Peninsula.

Delmarva Power became involved in the effort because the power company needed to borrow property for storing construction materials and poles as it builds a new 90-mile transmission line along the Delmarva Peninsula. In exchange for the use of state property, state officials asked the power company if it would consider donating osprey poles and installing them at the specified locations.

"They had a need. We had a need. And, as a result, our friends the ospreys will have safe, new homes for many years to come," said Gary Stockbridge, regional president of Delmarva Power.

In general, ospreys prefer to build their nests in open areas on tall structures near water. Unfortunately, that means the osprey risks injury by nesting on an electrical pole, telephone pole and/or cellular tower.

The osprey platforms, unlike other perches, are more stable, easier to build on, tougher for predators to climb and usually better sited. Osprey nests are huge tangles of sticks and other flotsam that can weigh hundreds of pounds.

According to Division of Fish and Wildlife biologists, osprey platforms should be as high as possible north of the Mispillion River because low nest sites in the northern part of the state are frequently preyed upon by great horned owls.

At Woodland Beach, the nesting platform has been placed near Bridge 10A over Duck Creek, but away from the power lines. "It works out for all concerned, ospreys included," according to Division wildlife biologist Wayne Lehman.

At the site along the St. Jones River, south of Dover, the osprey platform has been placed at the Island Cary Farm wetland mitigation site on DelDOT property.

At Augustine Wildlife Management Area near Odessa, the artificial nesting site is part of a wetland/habitat mitigation project designed to compensate for natural resource injuries associated with a Superfund site near Wilmington. The platform will be placed on the recently acquired Cleaver Island portion of the state wildlife area.


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Delmarva Power, a public utility owned by Pepco Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: POM), provides safe, reliable and affordable regulated electric and natural gas delivery services to more than 500,000 customers in Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia.