''Vulture Mitigation'' Plan Devised to Prevent Bird-Related Outages

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Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Buzzard Roosting Location Harmful to Entergy Texas Equipment, Service Reliability Navasota, Texas – A cooperative effort including officials with Entergy Texas, Inc., the federal Wildlife Services and the City of Navasota has resulted in a plan to deter black vultures who chose to turn a substation here into a nighttime roost. The vultures are problematic for a number of reasons. Their presence can damage substation equipment and has also been responsible for power outages. In the most recent incident, a vulture flew into a substation and was killed after coming into contact with equipment. The substation had to be taken offline to prevent further damage while ensuring the safety of employees and the birds which are a protected species under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Unfortunately, that meant 1,500 customers were without power for about 90 minutes. “Previously we used propane cannons to scare away the birds,” said Ronnie Hale, customer service representative for Navasota. “The tactic worked 100 percent the first time and cleared the area of vultures for about a year. But each time the strategy was repeated, it proved to be less effective.” After the birds returned to their favorite, but dangerous roosting choice, a meeting was held with representatives of the federal Wildlife Services organization, a part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The City of Navasota has already been involved with the problem, having OK’d the use of propane cannons. This time around, a combination of measures will be put to use to safely deter the vultures and protect Entergy Texas equipment. One of those measures is the installation of vulture effigies. The birds avoid roosting near dead vultures, so effigies have been put in place to encourage them to find another place to sleep. Spikes are also going to be installed on the substation to keep birds from landing. Employees have more to do, however, and will also wage a noise campaign using handheld launchers and pyrotechnic devices. Toby Chu, environmental analyst for Entergy Texas, said, “All of these methods will hopefully work together to harass yet protect the vultures and cause them to find another roosting place.” Entergy Texas, Inc. delivers electricity to more than 420,000 customers in 27 counties. It is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation. Entergy is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including more than 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power, making it one of the nation’s leading nuclear generators. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.8 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
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