The Reporter covers Miller, Morgan and Camden County in Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks and is published once per week on Wednesdays.

 

Published January 11, 2023

Energy upgrades protect eagle nesting grounds

LAKE OZARK - Ameren Missouri customers and the region’s bird population will both benefit from recent upgrades near the Osage Energy Center (Bagnell Dam). While crews were installing new transmission lines to increase reliability, state-of-the-art flight diverters to prevent collisions between birds and high-voltage lines were installed as well. The work will protect wintering bald eagles as well as other species who live in or migrate through the lake area.

As part of its policy to minimize risks to natural habitats, Ameren Missouri conducts an environmental assessment before initiating any work at or near the Osage Energy Center. The assessment recommended installing flight diverters every 30 feet along the new power lines.

Utilizing a specially designed drone, more than 300 highly reflective markers have already been installed on power lines.

The drone sets a device on the power line and pulls it along the line while the device installs the markers.

Each diverter can glow in the dark, offering around-the-clock visibility. Most bird collisions happen in low light conditions.

“Just as anglers enjoy the stretch of the Osage River below the dam, so do birds," said Kurt Rakers, supervising engineer at Ameren Missouri. "These diverters provide protection in all conditions to reduce the possibility of contact with power lines. The reflectors do not restrict the birds from hunting or any other activity."

The efforts at Osage Energy Center are part of Ameren’s companywide program to protect avian populations at transmission and distribution (T&D) facilities. The program was developed in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and includes commitments to:

“We have been intentional about taking protective measures to protect birds throughout our region,” added Randy Hunt, supervising engineer at Ameren Missouri. “Our avian protection programs have resulted in reduced avian-related incidents within our service territory and have become a model for other utilities.”

Ameren’s commitment to operational and conservation efforts are further detailed in the company’s Biodiversity Policy.

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