Conservationists hope to improve Lake Norman’s habitats
by Staff Writer
MOORESVILLE – The Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationists are make wildlife a focal point in 2012.
The organization met with community members from across Lake Norman March 8 at the Mooresville Public Library to discuss projects that could help make the lake more nature-friendly.
“There are some opportunities that you can experience on Lake Norman to make that ecosystem a little bit more habitat friendly,” said Gene Vaughan, a retired Duke Energy scientist.
Vaughan spoke Thursday about several projects in the works for 2012 to help achieve that goal. The conservationists are planting 1,000 buttonbushes – large aquatic plants – around specific lake islands for stabilization, as well as constructing about 10 blue heron nesting platforms.
Many herons build their nests in the tops of large pine trees on the lake’s small islands, which isn’t always the safest place, Vaughan said.
“From the erosion of wind and water, some of these islands are disappearing,” Vaughan said. “But the birds don’t know enough to abandon them and will stay on those nests until the trees absolutely fall into the water.”
The group also plans to build 10 more Osprey nests, expanding what Vaughan said has been one of the most successful projects in recent years.
“When I came here in 1980 to work for Duke Energy, there were no ospreys, none,” Vaughan said. “But in 1984 the Carolina Raptor Center and Duke Energy brought in baby ospreys to the area and raised them and we’ve really grown. But it’s a habitat thing, again, and we just don’t have trees on Lake Norman where they really like to nest.”
The osprey platforms will be constructed March 31 and should take about three or four hours, Vaughan said.
Plans for 2012 include building wooden duck boxes and the installation of fish habitats in the deeper portions of the lake.
“A lot of these projects we talked about tonight, we just need manpower, we need people helping,” wildlife conservationists’ spokesperson Don West said. “The North Carolina Wildlife Federation has identified some habitat needs around the lake, and we’re here to provide.”
To get involved with the Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationists or volunteer for any of its upcoming projects, go to www.lakenormanwildlife.org.