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Power lines in Amurskaya province are made safer for birds
01 april 2022
Information provided by WWF Russia to power engineers about the location of Oriental stork nests on power lines helps specialists from the Federal Grid Company (Rosseti FGC UES) to identify which transmission towers should be equipped with special nesting platforms and bird protective devices.
The “housing issue” is vital not only for people, but also for birds, especially for such large ones as the Oriental stork. Over the past 50-70 years, large trees suitable for building massive nests have been in great need in stork breeding sites. Power lines are becoming serious alternative to trees, however they can be dangerous causing a short circuit or a power outage, and result in the death of Red Listed birds. Therefore, this issue is under special control of both environmentalists and power engineers. It means that transmission lines must be safe for both birds and power consumers.
This year, according to the Federal Grid Company of the Energy System of Russia (Rosseti FGC UES), the installation of special nesting platforms for birds is being carried out on one of the most populated by storks power lines, the 220 kV Blagoveshchenskaya-Varvarovka power line in Amurskaya province. This line, 110 km long, passes through Blagoveshchensky, Tambovsky and Oktyabrsky districts – an important natural breeding ground for storks. At present, specialists from Amursky branch of Rosseti FGC UES have already installed 52 nesting platforms and plan to mount 70 more. Moreover, they will set up special bird protective devices in places that cause a threat to birds.
According to Anna Serdyuk, PhD, head of the Freshwater Ecosystems Department of WWF Russia Amur Branch, chairman of the Russian Working Group on Oriental Stork: “Over the past 10 years, the number of nests on power lines has tripled. Today, more than 23% of all stork nests are located on power lines. On the Zeya-Bureya Plain in Amurskaya province - 30%. On one hand, nesting on power poles enabled storks to occupy territories that were previously inaccessible, and thereby the number of breeding pairs has increased and population number has grown. On the other hand, it created additional threat for storks, since they often die as a result of electric shock. People suffer from damaged lines and blackouts as well. Rosseti FGC UES specialists annually make great efforts and implement tools to ensure nonstop operation of networks and the safe breeding of the Oriental stork on power lines. Over the past 4 years, Rosseti FGC UES has installed more than 66,000 bird protective devices and 1,300 barrier-type bird protective devices in the entire stork breeding range in Amurskaya, Evreiskaya, Khabarovsky and Primorsky provinces, as well as 243 outside-mounted nesting platforms in Amurskaya province.
“Mounting special bird protective devices on power lines is an important activity of Rosseti FGC UES, and also a part of ESG policy of the company. Since 2013, the work on stork conservation has been carried out jointly with environmentalists. Specialists from WWF Russia, regional NGOs and protected areas keep a record of the Red Listed birds and provide power engineers with maps with information about their location. This data helps to understand which transmission lines primarily need to be equipped with nesting platforms,” said Pavel Tsitrin, deputy chief engineer of the Amur branch of Rosseti FGC UES.
In total, Rosseti FGC UES equipped for storks 31 transmission line of 220-500 kV in Amurskaya province. Over the past 4 years, more than 23,000 devices and 243 platforms have been installed. Such work will continue in the future, because the Oriental stork population is growing every year, and its range is also increasing. This means that cooperation between power engineers and environmentalists should be developed and expanded.