By John Murray
Environmentalist Kevin Zak displays a piece of egg he discovered at the base of a CL&P utility pole in Beacon Falls that used to house an Osprey nest. The utility company, acting on verbal permission granted by the Connecticut Department of Environment and Energy (DEEP), destroyed the nest this past weekend. The utility company was under strict orders to leave the nest alone if they found eggs in it. The nest was destroyed, and Mitch Gross, a spokesmen for CL&P said there were no eggs in the nest.
Kevin Zak and Sondra Harman disagree.
Zak and Harmen are leaders of the Naugatuck River Revival Group and have led dozens of river clean-ups from Ansonia to Waterbury. Zak had spent hours filming the Osprey nest for a wildlife documentary called “The Hidden World”, and he was the first one to discover the nest had been demolished. Zak fired off dozens of e-mails to find out out who destroyed the Osprey nest, and collected pieces of egg at the base of the pole for evidence.
State wildlife officials are investigating the incident, and the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife is starting to ask questions. Osprey are federally protected and the state is not allowed to give permission for nest deconstruction without gaining a federal permit. That didn’t happen. Pieces of egg have been obtained by the Waterbury Observer and will be analyzed to see if they are from fresh eggs. If they are, then CL&P workers who destroyed the nest will face federal penalties.
CL&P has responded to public outcry, and intense media scrutiny, and is erecting an Osprey platform in Beacon Falls tomorrow morning, April 27th, to allow the ousted birds a chance to rebuild a nest in a safer environment.
Fourteen years ago two Virginia Department of Transportation employees were fined $500 each by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for illegally destroying an osprey nest at the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry. The maximum fine is $5000 and six months in jail.