JUNO BEACH, Fla., April 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- After Florida Power & Light Company installed new, more storm-resilient power line poles in the Duette Preserve in Manatee County, the company preserved nests for the Southeastern American Kestrel, and provided additional nesting options for the threatened bird. The Southeastern American Kestrel is the smallest falcon in the United States.
Last month, FPL crews moved four wooden poles in the preserve, located at 2649 Rawls Road in Duette, to save inactive nests that kestrels already built into the poles. In addition, FPL installed kestrel boxes on the new poles to provide additional nesting options, which is a first for the company. Four additional wooden poles, which contained active kestrel nests, will be moved later this year.
The project, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, is part of the company's initiative to enhance service reliability to area customers in Manatee County, while demonstrating its concern and commitment to the environment and local wildlife.
"With FPL's donation of the poles and nest boxes, the county will be able to retain the existing nesting cavities and help our only resident kestrel species flourish," said Manatee County Natural Resources Department Manager Max Dersch. "Duette Preserve has been a site on the Great Florida Birding Trail since 2003. This effort by FPL and the county's planting of nearly 2 million trees in the past 12 years will ensure we maintain a beautiful preserve for the public, kestrels and other wildlife to enjoy."
The Southeastern American Kestrel's population is in decline due to a lack of nesting and foraging habitat. The 21,000 acres of Duette Preserve offers high quality foraging habitat for the non-migratory kestrel.
"We commend FPL for preserving and expanding nesting sites for the rare Southeastern American Kestrels at Manatee County's Duette Preserve," said Marianne Korosy, Audubon Florida Important Bird area coordinator. "Eighty percent of this subspecies has disappeared from the U.S. over the past 70 years. Decline is related to loss of habitat and widespread removal of nesting trees. FPL has set a bird-friendly precedent with this timely effort."
FPL has been committed to the protection of endangered and migratory birds for nearly three decades. The company's 2007 Avian Protection Plan provides employees with an overview for protecting birds that is consistent with industry and federal guidelines.
"This project demonstrates how we are making upgrades to our infrastructure that will speed up service restoration and improve everyday reliability, while helping provide customers with the lowest electric bill in the state," said FPL Environmental Project Manager Jackie Kingston. "We make these improvements for our customers while protecting and preserving the environment in which we work."
Florida Power & Light Company Florida Power & Light Company is the largest rate-regulated electric utility in Florida and serves the third-largest number of customers of any electric utility in the United States. FPL serves more than 4.6 million customer accounts and is a leading Florida employer with approximately 10,000 employees as of year-end 2012. During the five-year period ended December 31, 2012, the company delivered the best service reliability among Florida investor-owned utilities. As of year-end 2012, its typical residential customer bills are the lowest in Florida, and based on data available in July 2012, are about 26 percent below the national average. A clean energy leader, FPL has one of the lowest emissions profiles and one of the leading energy efficiency programs among utilities nationwide. FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE). For more information, visit www.FPL.com.