At our Site C project near Fort St. John, a dam and generating station aren't the only structures being built. We're also building around 40 new eagle nesting platforms near the shoreline of the future reservoir. The nesting platforms will provide additional nesting options for bald eagles in the area. Our crews have built similar structures for other birds of prey, including ospreys, in other communities across the province.
Protecting wildlife is a big priority for us. Before and during construction, we monitor eagle activity – including by helicopter three times a year. If we find active bald eagle nests within construction areas, these are protected with a large "no-clearing" buffer zone to avoid disturbance to the nesting birds.
While we make every effort to protect the nests, there are times when we need to remove the trees containing the nests to advance construction.
How do you move a 1,000-pound bird nest?
This month, we carefully moved two inactive bald eagle nests from the north bank of the Peace River. This is tricky work as some nests can weigh up to 1,000 pounds. Professional fallers assisted in removing the entire section of the tree above and below the nest and then a crane was used to lower the piece of tree and nest onto a flatbed truck.
The nests were then transported to a storage yard, where they’ll remain for a few months until their new home is ready.
"Bald eagle nests are only removed when absolutely necessary," said Greg Scarborough, Site C's director of environmental programs. "This work is always done outside of the critical nesting period when the nests are deemed inactive by a qualified professional, and in accordance with the B.C. Wildlife Act."
Monitoring now and into the future
Later this winter, the nests will be moved onto the newly built eagle nesting platforms and closely monitored to see if bald eagles return to the nests.
Once construction is complete, we'll continue to monitor these nests, and others in the Peace River Valley for the first 10 years of project operations.