The new installation will give park visitors the chance to see America’s most majestic bird in its natural habitat.
PLAINFIELD, Ind. – Duke Energy is converting two electric transmission towers that have reached the end of their useful service life into nesting platforms for bald eagles at the Wabashiki Fish & Wildlife Area in West Terre Haute, Ind.
In early August, Duke Energy will deploy a specialty helicopter crew to begin stripping inactive electrical lines and equipment from 50-foot transmission towers that span approximately 1,000 feet in the floodplain along the Wabash River. Crews will then work to install two nesting platforms at the top of the towers. The platforms will each be 8 feet wide and 6 feet long and constructed with fiberglass grating and steel supports – strong and large enough to accommodate bald eagles’ colossal nests, which are the largest of any North American bird. Eagle nests typically measure 5 to 6 feet wide and 2 feet deep and are lined with grass, moss and sometimes cattails.
According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, more than 350 bald eagle nesting territories have been recorded in Indiana. The birds have periodically been spotted at Wabashiki Fish & Wildlife Area since it opened to the public in 2010. With the addition of these nesting platforms, park officials hope to attract even more of these eleven federal- and state-endangered species to the area.
“A lot of hard work has gone into restoring the bald eagle population in Indiana over the last 50 years, and their recovery is one of our state’s great conservation success stories,” said Adam Grossman, superintendent of the Vigo County Parks and Recreation Department. “The creation of nesting towers like these have been critical in supporting their survival here, and we’re grateful for partners like Duke Energy that are finding creative ways to support these majestic birds and allow them to thrive right here in West Terre Haute.”
The project will be completed in early September, long before eagles begin looking for nesting sites in January and February. Local residents can expect to see and hear helicopter activity in the area during daylight hours as the work progresses. Property owners near the impacted transmission line have been notified of this work by mail, and Duke Energy account holders are being notified through calls or text messages. The helicopter may cause wind disturbance at ground level. Homeowners have been advised to secure outdoor furniture or other items that could be moved by the wind.
“Conservation is an integral part of who we are as a company,” said Rick Burger, government and community relations manager at Duke Energy. “We’re proud to partner with the Vigo County Parks and Recreation Department to repurpose these transmission towers in an innovative and sustainable way to build a better future for the environment and the communities we serve.”
The Wabashiki Fish & Wildlife Area’s 2,600 acres of lush marshland along the west bank of the Wabash River make it an ideal natural habitat for bald eagles. As the water level of the river rises and falls, receding floodwaters trap large numbers of fish in the floodplain. Pools of abundant water with stranded fish remain and offer rich hunting grounds for eagles and other wildlife.
The Vigo County Parks and Recreation Department hopes to one day build a viewing platform at the Dewey Point trailhead for visitors to come and safely observe eagles that may eventually settle down at the nesting platforms.
Duke Energy Indiana
Duke Energy Indiana, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, provides about 6,300 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 870,000 customers in a 23,000-square-mile service area, making it Indiana’s largest electric supplier.
Contact: McKenzie Barbknecht