Dominion Energy North Carolina is building new homes for osprey who like to nest on a bridge over Currituck Sound each spring.
The utility is constructing high-rise nesting platforms on transmission poles traversing the waterway. The ospreys have been nesting on wooden platforms fixed to abandoned transmission towers, but age and the elements have reduced that number to three platforms.
Dominion North Carolina’s transmission group used helicopters and manpower to remove the remaining wooden platforms and replaced them with larger, stronger and more durable aluminum alloy bases over every pole.
By providing the new platforms, the company is ensuring the ospreys have a safe, durable home and that electric service to the Outer Banks is not disrupted by their nesting activities.
“This is really about safety and reliable service,” said Carter Clevinger, project manager-Electric Transmission Reliability. “Safety for the osprey because if they build on our energized transmission towers, they run the risk of electrocution; and safety and reliability for our customers by preventing massive power outages on the Outer Banks that could occur if nesting materials contact our lines.”
The transmission group tested the aluminum platforms on a pair of osprey nesting on a transmission support pole near Clarksville last spring. The birds took to the new metal roost so well that the company is using them exclusively now.
“The 12 poles across Currituck Sound are the largest use so far of the platforms and the first time we have used helicopters to install them,” Clevinger said.
The helicopters approached the transmission towers towing two workers on a 75-foot tether. The helicopter then lowered them onto the tower where they attached the new nesting platform.
The platforms made by Preformed Line Products weigh 34 pounds and are three-foot square.