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GRDA to protect eagle nesting area below Pensacola Dam

Eagle near Pensacola Dam
Posted at 10:11 AM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-30 11:11:20-05

MAYES COUNTY — Spotted: a bald eagle with a nest! The Grand River Dam Authority is temporarily closing an area near the Pensacola Dam main spillway after new activity was noticed in an established bald eagle nest.

The area will be marked by signage asking the public to not disturb the nest. Disturbing an American Bald Eagle nest is a violation of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which could result in a criminal fine of $100,000.

Due to the popularity of the area, the portion of the spillway area near the nest will be closed to visitors.

“This has been an established nest that the GRDA Ecosystems and Watershed Management Department has been monitoring for multiple years now,” said GRDA Spokesperson Justin Alberty. “The eagles have returned, and we are seeing the same activity we have seen in the past.”

Due to the eagles returning, GRDA must limit to the nest area, added Alberty.

Guidelines, established by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service, recommend closing access around nests to allow for a buffer zone of up to 660 feet between the nest and public access, depending on exact locations and topography.

“The public’s cooperation in obeying the signage and helping protect the nest has always been very helpful, and we are seeking that same kind of cooperation this year, as well,” said Alberty.

For those interested in viewing the eagle activity below the dam, GRDA recommends doing so from the designated “Eagle Pass” area, located on the west side of the spillway channel.

To access “Eagle Pass,” follow Broadway Avenue south out of Langley to N4475 Road, the road that runs below Pensacola Dam. Go east on N4475 until a bridge is crossed, then turn right onto the dirt road and follow it around to the eagle viewing areas.

Bald eagles will hunt small fish, often snatching them off the surface of the water or even stealing them from other birds. The best time to watch the birds feeding is early in the morning.

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