Dear ESC Members,

It has recently come to our attention that a pair of Osprey have established a nest on top of a National Grid Transmission Structure located in the Niagara River, at the northwestern tip of Grand Island near Buckhorn Marsh State Park. This is the first nesting pair on this portion of the Niagara River in over a decade. Recent visits have confirmed the presence of an egg on the nest. The existing nest is causing some issues for National Grid as it is interfering with the safe operation of the transmission line and resulting in the need to relocate the nest. Grid has agreed to keep the nest in place through this summer.

As part of its commitments under the Relicensing Settlement Agreement, NYPA has agreed to construct an Osprey Nesting Platform Habitat Improvement Project (HIP). The current situation at Buckhorn provides a timely opportunity to begin implementation of this project. One of the proposed locations for a platform is in the Buckhorn Marsh near the structure where the nest is currently located. Given the habit of Osprey returning each year to the same nesting area, we are proposing to install a substitute nesting platform structure nearby and greatly increase the likelihood of continued occupation by this pair of Ospreys. In order to ensure continued use of a nest in this area, the platform would have to be installed this summer. The Power Authority has consulted with National Grid, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the New York State Office of Parks and Recreation who have agreed on the location of the new pole and platform. The goal is to install the pole and platform by the first week of August 2007. This will occur before the Osprey leave the area for the year, and allow them an opportunity to become acclimated to the new structure and nest location. Some of the existing nest material will be transferred from the existing nest to the new structure to aid the process.

Due to these ongoing events, and since this is the first Niagara HIP to be implemented, NYPA would like to organize a field trip for the Ecological Standing Committee to visit the location of the existing nest site and to view the the location of the proposed HIP Osprey nest platform. The site visit has been scheduled for 10:30 AM, June 26, 2007. The meeting place is the Buckhorn State Park Overlook parking area off East River Road in Grand Island (see attached photo map). We will meet at that location and carpool to the site.

Please reply to this email if you plan on attending the field visit. If you need to contact me on the day of the site visit you can call my cell phone (914) 582-2922.

 

Ed Alkiewicz

Manager of Environmental Studies

New York Power Authority