GRDA providing update on eagle’s nest, buffer zone below Pensacola Dam

Apr 30, 2020

“Aeric” the eaglet sits in a nest below Pensacola Dam, in this photo taken by GRDA’s Steve Nikolai.

Langley – With continued activity in the eagle’s nest located in the off-roading area below the Pensacola Dam spillway, the Grand River Dam Authority is announcing that the buffer zone, established around the nesting area earlier this year, will remained closed to the public for an undetermined amount of time. GRDA will be able to reopen the area once all nesting activity has ceased for the year.

In January, the discovery of the nest prompted GRDA to close access to the area, per guidelines established by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service. Those guidelines recommend closing access around nests to allow for a buffer zone of 330 to 660 feet between the nest and public access, depending on exact locations and topography.

GRDA also installed signage in the area along trails that head toward the nest, advising the public of the nest and that disturbing it is a violation of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which could result in a criminal fine of $100,000.

Currently the nesting pair of adult Bald Eagles have been successful in raising one young eagle this season, thanks in part to the public giving them plenty of room in an otherwise high traffic area. Over the past few weeks GRDA Biologists have noted that the eaglet, dubbed “Aeric,” has been stretching and pumping its wings; building strength for its first flight. Given the success of the nesting pair in this location, the GRDA Ecosystems Department expects this couple will return next year, similar to the behavior of other nests in the area.

“We’re seeing the positive results of a buffer zone,” said GRDA Vice President of Corporate Communications Justin Alberty, “and we just ask for the public’s continued cooperation while the nest is still active.”