VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla., March 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) today announced that a bald eagle has hatched atop the first nesting platform the company constructed for the iconic bird. FPL built an independent pole and platform southwest of Daytona Beach in Volusia County after a bald eagle nest was identified on one of the company's transmission structures.
FPL, with permits from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, relocated the bald eagle nest to the new 70-foot high platform in the fall of 2013. Within 45 days of the nest's transfer to the platform, a pair of eagles made their new home in the nest. The original location of the nest posed a safety hazard to the eagles and needed to be removed, but viable nesting trees were not present in the immediate area.
"At FPL, we take seriously our commitment to environmental stewardship," said Randall LaBauve, vice president for environmental services at FPL. "We strive to provide our customers with the most reliable electric service at the lowest cost, while balancing the need to maintain Florida's special ecosystem and protected wildlife that live throughout our service area."
State Bald Eagle Population on the Rise
Less than 100 nesting sites existed in Florida when the bald eagle population was first surveyed in 1973, according to the FWC. More than 1,450 nests were documented during the 2012 FWC annual statewide survey of known eagle territories. Florida has one of the densest concentrations of nesting eagles in the lower 48 states and has more nests than any state other than Alaska and Minnesota, according to the FWC.
Currently, more than 900 nests exist in the counties served by FPL.
"We appreciate FPL's efforts to discourage eagles and other large birds from nesting on high-voltage utility structures, and provide safe, alternative nesting platforms where it is appropriate," said Michelle van Deventer, FWC bald eagle plan coordinator.
Company is Steadfast in its Commitment to Environmental Stewardship
FPL has been a leader in the protection of bald eagles, along with other protected birds for nearly three decades. Last year, as part of FPL's installation of new, more storm-resilient power lines in Manatee County, the company preserved nests and provided additional nesting options for the threatened Southeastern American Kestrel. The company also provides nesting platforms for osprey in order to avoid their nests being built on power line structures, which could affect customers' electric service.
The company's Avian Protection Plan provides employees with an overview for protecting birds that is consistent with industry and federal guidelines.
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 approximately 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, 2011, the company delivered the best service reliability among Florida investor-owned utilities, while its typical residential customer bills, 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.
EDITORS NOTE: B-roll and other images of bald eagle nest relocation available through links below
Password is: fpl
Cutline: An eaglet sits in its nest that was relocated from a transmission power line structure to a 70-foot high pole by Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) in Volusia County, Fla., February 2014. The nest relocation effort marks the first time FPL built an independent pole and platform for the eagle's safety and to ensure reliable power for FPL customers. Photo credit: FPL.
SOURCE Florida Power & Light Company