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Waterfowl groups oppose proposed Central Valley power line routes

May 7, 2009 | 11:12 am

A great blue heron appears contemplative as it wades in the shallows.

Ducks Unlimited and the California Waterfowl Assn. are calling on members, waterfowl hunters and conservationists to voice their concern and opposition to a new power line construction proposal, stating that the suggested routes will negatively affect many of the waterfowl habitats and hunting areas in central California (for maps of area involved click here).

The Transmission Agency of Northern California Transmission Project would place transmission towers and lines along approximately 600 miles, including portions of numerous wildlife refuges.

"Ducks Unlimited and waterfowl hunters are not opposing the new energy in the region, we would just like to see wetlands and other wildlife habitat protected from the placement of power lines in these proposed routes," Rudy Rosen, director of Ducks Unlimited Western Regional office said.

The DU website states that less than 250,000 acres of wetland remain of an area that once encompassed 3 million to 5 million acres. The proposed power lines will threaten this relatively small acreage that wintering and breeding waterfowl are dependent on.

Waterfowl experts say that large power lines impact birds, especially in foggy conditions when large waterbirds such as geese, cranes, herons and swans are killed or injured when they hit the lines.

"California's Central Valley winters or provides migration habitat for 60% of the Pacific Flyway's waterfowl and 20% of North America's waterfowl population," added Rosen. "This is not just a California issue but should be addressed by everyone in the U.S."

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: A great blue heron appears contemplative as it wades in the shallows. Credit: Dan Ocampo/Bakersfield Californian