Group works with power business to boost osprey population

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A nonprofit group is working with an electricity transmission company and Ann Arbor park officials to install osprey nesting platforms along the Huron River.

Two 16-foot-high platforms will be built this month under the partnership with Novi-based ITC Holdings Corp., the Huron River Watershed Council said. The platforms will be constructed with recycled materials from decommissioned ITC power structures.

"This project ... will enhance the diversity of the river ecosystem while providing recreational enjoyment for the public," Laura Rubin, executive director of the Huron River Watershed Council, said in a statement.

Michigan's osprey population has been rebounding after a decline the mid-20th century attributed to DDT and other pesticide use. The project is part of a broader effort involving Osprey Watch, the Audubon Society and the city of Ann Arbor to increase the number of osprey in southeastern Michigan.

The nesting platforms will be placed in Furstenberg Pond and Gallup Park's South Pond. The watershed already is home to some osprey nests.

"ITC is committed to sustainability efforts," said Luba Sitar, manager for ITC's customer relations and community education. "This partnership is an example of how we work with others who are making positive impacts in our communities."

ITC Holdings, the nation's largest independent electricity transmission company, supports the work of other watershed groups in Michigan, including Friends of the Rouge, the River Raisin Watershed Council, the Clinton River Watershed Council and Huron Pines.