Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Congratulations! It’s a… Killdeer!

The New Irvington Tunnel Project was home to the birth of four killdeer birds. Native to California, the killdeer nest on level surfaces of sand or stones. True to its natural behavior a female killdeer was found nesting on a dry streambed- within 100 feet of bridge that was about to be demolished!

Great care is taken to protect all wildlife our project teams come in contact with as they rebuild and seismically strengthen the Hetch Hetchy Water System. The killdeer are North American birds protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the New Irvington Tunnel’s Environmental Impact Report. While workers were preparing to demolish a temporary bridge and build a new one, environmental inspectors were busy devising measures to monitor and protect the mother killdeer and her unborn hatchlings.

Inspectors monitored the nest daily. Each time the inspectors made sure all the eggs were still in place and the mother was incubating. To further protect the killdeer, workers shifted the main construction road 25 feet and established a no disturbance buffer of 25 feet around the nest. The nest was then surrounded by a wildlife exclusion fence. Signs were posted around the fencing that read “Bid Nesting Area, Keep Out”.

After three weeks of daily monitoring the big day came when the mother killdeer hatched four eggs. Within the next couple of days the young killdeer fledged and were ready to explore their new world. As for the workers and the inspectors, they were delighted all four killdeer were healthy. Once the killdeer moved on and out of the project area everyone could get back to the vital construction of the New Irvington Tunnel.

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