Loss of Osprey egg allows pier construction to resume on Eggners - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Loss of Osprey egg allows pier construction to resume on Eggners Ferry Bridge

An osprey lands at a nest on Span “A” of the US 68/KY 80 Eggners Ferry Bridge (Source: KYTC). An osprey lands at a nest on Span “A” of the US 68/KY 80 Eggners Ferry Bridge (Source: KYTC).
PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) - The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says construction can resume on three piers of the new Eggners Ferry Bridge after being delayed about a month. The delay was to accommodate ospreys nesting nearby on the old bridge structure.

According to KYTC, personnel have been carefully monitoring osprey nests containing eggs. An inspection last week found the egg in one of the nests was no longer viable.

This has allowed the contractor to resume construction on three of the four bridge piers that were within a 300-foot buffer zone around the nests, according to KYTC District 1 Chief Engineer Mike McGregor.

“The ospreys had laid an egg directly on top of one of the steel truss, and then attempted to build a nest around it,” McGregor said. “The egg cracked and was determined to be non-viable by biologists. The nest has since been removed. This allowed the contractor to resume work at Pier 3, 4 and 5. Currently, the only nest that contains an egg is at Span ‘E' of the old bridge which is near Pier 6. That is the only area where construction activity remains limited.”

Ospreys within the construction zone for the New Eggners Ferry Bridge over Kentucky Lake and the New Canton Bridge over Lake Barkley are covered under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty.

With approaching construction of new bridges over Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley, in 2013, the Transportation Cabinet funded osprey platforms which the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) constructed on both lakes to provide alternate nesting sites.

Getting the ospreys to move to those alternate sites has been a significant challenge.

In 2014, there were 128 documented osprey nests in Kentucky with more than 100 along Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley in the Land Between the Lakes area.

Seven osprey nests on the Eggners Ferry Bridge and five on the bridge at Canton.

“Our goal is to accommodate the ospreys during the critical mating and nesting season,” McGregor said. “We've worked closely with KDFWR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the ospreys while maintaining a work schedule on the bridge.”

McGregor said that getting the ospreys to move to alternate nesting locations is of long-term importance because the existing bridges on Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake will be eventually demolished.

When that happens, the ospreys are going to have to adapt to new nesting sites, which may also include the new bridges.

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