Contractor to remove osprey nest on Puget Island bridge
Painting, repaving work nearing completion
October 24, 2019
Work on the SR 409 - Columbia River Bridge at Puget Island - Deck Replacement and Painting Project is expected to be completed in a few weeks, well ahead of schedule, according to a Friday Washington Department of Transportation news announcement.
The release said that beginning Monday, Oct. 28, travelers who use the bridge will notice that the single-lane closure will be moved a few hundred feet to the south of the current lane closure location. The reason for moving the lane closure is to provide contractor crews additional room to take down the temporary osprey nest platform and pole. The nest was originally located atop the bridge's steel structure and was removed in spring, 2018, to accommodate painting work.
As the nest is now vacant, the nesting materials will be left on the ground near the bridge. Because ospreys are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, this work is done with a permit from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in coordination with the WSDOT biologist and the osprey nesting cycle so that the birds can use the material to rebuild during next year’s nesting season.
Because of the osprey's success in using the new nesting structure, some Puget Island residents have asked the department to leave it in place.
"Unfortunately, we have not been able to find a way to keep the temporary platform on the bridge," WSDOT District Engineer Joanna Lowery said in an Thursday email to one of the residents.
"As far as the nest goes, it will be dismantled and the materials left on the ground near the bridge. Although this sounds a little odd, we worked with our biologist to find the best scenario for our bridge and the birds.
"If you wish to organize a community project to help the osprey, the best scenario would be to build a new platform away from the bridge. I know some other platforms have been built in the area and some are not successfully being used. This is a challenging location because of the height and proximity of the bridge. There are a number of resources available for groups interested in helping the osprey like Osprey Watch. Energy companies have a lot of experience with osprey nests and building alternative platform sites. Cowlitz PUD has a page dedicated to one such project."