GRDA lifts restrictions around eagle nest

May 27, 2021

A bald eagle surveys the scene from its perch in a tree near Pensacola Dam. Because an eagle nest, located in the spillway area below the dam, is no longer occupied, GRDA is removing the buffer zone that had been in place since late 2020.

As a new eagle is taking flight near Pensacola Dam and Grand Lake, the buffer zone around its former nest is being reopened to the public.

In late 2020, the Grand River Dam Authority announced that it was restricting public access to a large area around the nest, located below the dam’s main spillway, in accordance with United States Fish & Wildlife Service guidelines. Those guidelines recommended closing access around nests to allow for a buffer zone of 330 to 660 feet between the nest and public access. Located in the popular off-roading area below the dam, the zone had been marked with “nesting area/no trespassing” signage.

However, in recent days the GRDA Ecosystems and Education Department has observed that the nest is no longer occupied. As a result, the buffer zone is no longer required.

“We appreciate the cooperation we’ve received from the public while the buffer zone was in place,” said GRDA Vice President of Corporate Communications Justin Alberty. “We’ve seen the positive results of that cooperation as this young eagle takes flight.”

Given the success of nesting eagles in this location, GRDA anticipates eagles will return and use the location again at year’s end.