Fish and Game's Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program joined forces with Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH) and New Hampshire Audubon to work toward a full recovery of the state-threatened bird of prey by the end of 2005.
"Project Osprey" expands ongoing recovery efforts with the added benefit of a corporate partner, PSNH. Project Osprey is a major investment from a corporation to complete a recovery plan for a state-listed species. Project Osprey is a perfect example of taking corporate resources, people, equipment, locations, and applying them to the continuous improvement of the communities they live and operate in.
The project has three goals: foster a self-sustaining
osprey population; develop a comprehensive educational program;
and promote the partnership as a model for more collaboration
among the business community, government agencies
Biologists and volunteers monitor osprey breeding sites and behaviors -- see the Project Osprey Stewards/Great Bay & Coastal New Hampshire Osprey Monitoring site at home.myfairpoint.net/dickhughes00/gbospreys/ for more information.
A recovery plan has been written to provide guidance in location of nest structures. Habitat considerations and how likely the birds are to use an area based upon certain features were taken into account. The plan calls for PSNH to provide crews and equipment to erect man-made nesting platforms with a target goal of 15 new platforms in the time frame of the project. Nesting platforms are critical for attracting osprey into new areas to spread out the distribution so they're not all concentrated in one part of the state.
Osprey return to New Hampshire from southern wintering grounds each spring to breed near rivers, lakes and estuaries where they hunt for fish. Roughly two dozen pairs of osprey have nested in New Hampshire in the past few years. Most of those nests were north of the White Mountains. In recent years, however, recovery efforts have expanded their breeding range. Osprey raised young in four different watersheds -- Androscoggin, Merrimack, Connecticut and Great Bay -- signaling an impressive expansion of their range. In order for the state's population to be considered recovered, additional breeding territories need to be established in the Merrimack and Connecticut watersheds and continued expansion in the seacoast area.
The educational component to Project Osprey includes developing a teacher's curriculum on ecological concepts, training volunteers to help monitor ospreys and even providing live video images of osprey.
Slide show - Ospreys in action! Click here for some AMAZING osprey photography by Miguel Lasa.
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