Covanta Partners with New Jersey Audubon to Restore Bird Nesting Habitats

Energy-from-Waste facility rooftops to provide nesting areas for species of special concern

Jul 07, 2015, 11:48 ET from Covanta

MORRISTOWN, N.J., July 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Covanta, a world leader in sustainable waste and energy solutions, and New Jersey Audubon (NJA), a privately supported, not-for profit, statewide membership organization working to make New Jersey a better place for people and wildlife, have partnered to restore nesting habitats for Chimney Swifts and Common Nighthawks. NJA and Covanta are working to install substitute habitats for these birds on the roofs of Covanta Energy-from-Waste facilities throughout the state.

The first phase of the project involved installing nests for the Common Nighthawk at Covanta Essex in Newark, NJ and Covanta Warren in Oxford, NJ.  The nests consist of natural-colored pea stone gravel and are placed in the southern area of the roofs.

With the assistance of an area Boy Scout troop and other community organizations, the second phase of the project will see the construction and installation of artificial chimney structures made of wood on Covanta's rooftops. The structures will resemble chimneys and will make suitable nesting habitats for the Chimney Swift.

"NJ Audubon commends Covanta for their enthusiasm and commitment to this important restoration project that will help provide critical nesting habitat for two species of special concern," said John Parke, New Jersey Audubon Project Stewardship Director - North Region. "The concept of creating breeding areas on roof-tops for wildlife and 'green roofs' are important for the survival of species such as these, especially in a state like New Jersey where land use and habitat availability change so frequently."

Both Chimney Swifts and Common Nighthawks face a consistent, long-term decline in population numbers due to habitat loss. Common Nighthawk populations have declined by 2 percent per year between 1966 and 2010, amounting to a cumulative decline of 59 percent according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS).  Across North America, Common Nighthawk threats include a reduction in mosquitoes and other aerial insects due to pesticides, and habitat loss of flat gravel rooftops in urban areas and open woods in rural locations.  Nighthawks are also vulnerable to being hit by cars as they forage or roost on roadways at night.

Chimney Swifts reside in chimney structures but face a decrease in population due to traditional brick chimneys now deteriorating and modern chimneys typically unsuitable for nest sites. Similar to Nighthawks, the BBS states Chimney Swifts' populations have declined about 2.2 percent per year since 1966. This is a decrease in 35 of 43 states and provinces Chimney Swifts migrate to and through.

"Covanta is proud to partner with New Jersey Audubon on this critical project. By utilizing 'wasted space' on our rooftops we can provide nesting habitats that will increase the chances of survival for these birds," said Kenneth E. Armellino, Director, Environmental Science and Community Affairs. "We look forward to the results of this project and hope it can be a model to be used across the region and the state."

Installation of the artificial chimneys for the Chimney Swifts is scheduled for later this year. Learn more about the Nighthawk nest installations in this short video and for updates on the project, please visit Covanta.com or njaudubon.org

About Covanta
Covanta is a world leader in providing sustainable waste and energy solutions. The Company's 45 Energy-from-Waste facilities provide communities and businesses around the world with environmentally sound solid waste disposal by using waste to generate clean, renewable energy. Annually, Covanta's modern Energy-from-Waste facilities safely and securely convert approximately 20 million tons of waste into clean, renewable electricity to power one million homes and recycle approximately 500,000 tons of metal. Energy-from-Waste facilities reduce greenhouse gases, complement recycling and are a critical component to sustainable solid waste management. For more information, visit www.covanta.com.

About New Jersey Audubon
The New Jersey Audubon is a privately supported, not-for profit, statewide membership organization. Founded in 1897, and one of the oldest independent Audubon societies, New Jersey Audubon is working to make New Jersey a better place for people and wildlife. New Jersey Audubon fosters environmental awareness and a conservation ethic among New Jersey's citizens; protects New Jersey's birds, mammals, other animals, and plants, especially endangered and threatened species; and promotes preservation of New Jersey's valuable natural habitats. http://www.njaudubon.org/

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