Jersey Central Power & Light has expanded an environmental program to help protect New Jersey's threatened ospreys.
The comprehensive program includes surveying all the locations where ospreys have started nesting, or given indications of future nesting, on JCP&L poles and other equipment. New nesting platform locations are then identified and built that do not pose a hazard due to proximity to electrical equipment. In addition, specialized equipment is installed to divert and discourage ospreys from nesting in potentially hazardous locations.
This year, JCP&L was able to successfully move two osprey nests – one in Brick Township in Ocean County and the other in Union Beach in Monmouth County – to new, safer nesting platforms that were built nearby.
"This program showcases JCP&L's commitment to protecting ospreys and other nesting raptors while also taking steps to help ensure the reliability of our electric system," said Tony Hurley, JCP&L vice president of operations. "In the past, we successfully relocated one or two osprey nests. With this expanded initiative, our goal is to move as many nests as possible before birds are injured or it causes a service interruption for customers."
"As the osprey population continues to grow, we appreciate the proactive protection work being done by JCP&L," said Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey. "To an osprey, a utility pole near the coast seems like an ideal spot to perch or build a nest, but it could jeopardize their health. This comprehensive JCP&L program will help ospreys coexist with the demands of our modern society."
Plans are in the works to address more nests in 2017, including:
- Moving nests on transmission structures in Ocean Township and Oceanport in Monmouth County
- Removing nesting materials and placing nesting deterrents on a distribution structure in Brick Township, Ocean County
- Moving nests on distribution structures in Oceanport, Monmouth Beach and Spring Lake Heights in Monmouth County
- Moving a nest on a distribution structure in Bayville, Ocean County
In addition to focusing on ospreys, JCP&L's previous avian protection efforts included setting nesting boxes and the banding of endangered American Kestrels.