Joint operation on Lake Seminole protects wildlife - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Joint operation on Lake Seminole protects wildlife

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January 11, 2007

Lake Seminole--  Fifty years ago, Ospreys, a unique and highly specialized bird species, were scarce in these parts.

At one time, they were nearly extinct.  "I remember coming down here in the '50s and there were none here.  And now there are, I think I counted 20 nests here just on this lake," said retired Captain John Davis of the U.S. Merchant Marines.  Now, even with the growth of their population, the Osprey is still endangered.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary decided they wanted to do whatever they could to help.   "Anytime you can increase a threatened or endangered species, it's a good thing to do," said Davis.

They decided to build Osprey 'condo's' on top of navigation aids in the lake. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers offered to finance the supplies, the auxiliary built the platforms and the Coast Guard volunteered to install them.

After they're done putting up the platforms they reseed the structure with ome of the materials from the nest, if they don't, the Osprey might not return for several years.  Chief Sam Hill of the Eufala Coast Guard says "they will come back, and they'll see the seed, and they may use part of that or throw it away, but they're going to build a new nest there."

"They're all on vacation in South America now right now," says Davis.  But soon, they'll be back. And they'll have a new place to make a home.

"It's gonna increase the number of Osprey for sure, and Osprey are good for the environment, they're good for the ecology," said Davis.

But building these platforms not only helps out the birds, it helps boaters as well.  "Sometimes when they build the nest, it goes over the dayboard and the mariner can't see the navigational aids that they need."

Now the Osprey have a safe place to nest.  And wildlife lovers, will probably get to see a lot more of these unique creatures. 

The Coast Guard installed 10 platforms in Lake Seminole over the last couple of days.

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