Forest Service Protects Osprey Nests at Forebay
By Danielle Orcutt, Leadville Today Contributor
The warmer weather has finally arrived in the high country and for most residents that means it’s time for outdoor fun! But as locals get ready to go fishing or just spend the day at Mt Elbert Forebay Reservoir, it’s important to keep in mind that Ospreys nesting in the southwest area of the reservoir are doing the same.
“People and pets will sometimes get too close to the nests, stressing the birds to the point where they often abandon their nest,” said Leadville Ranger District Wildlife Biologist, Jeni Windorski. She added that if an Osprey sounds an alarming call or flaps its wings, then you’re too close and need to retreat to a respectful distance.
This is why one third of a mile of the reservoir’s 3-mile shoreline will be barricaded and posted with signs instructing people to enjoy these amazing birds from afar. This temporary restriction began on June 6 and will last until August 31.
In addition to restricting access to key nesting areas, the Forest Service provides fishing line recycling bins at many of the local fishing area.
“Folks will sometimes accidentally leave their fishing line behind. When this happens, fish can become entangled. If an Osprey brings one of these fish to the nest, their offspring can become entangled as well. In the past, we had a pair of nestlings die because they were tangled in fishing line,” said Windorski.
Osprey are beautiful and fascinating birds that play an important role in the area’s ecosystem. Allowing them the space they need will ensure that they continue to thrive in the Forebay Reservoir.
Mt Elbert Forebay Reservoir is a favorite watering hole among Leadville locals, from fishermen to hikers. It is located just north of Twin Lakes off County Road 24. This 275 acre impoundment, offers excellent fishing for brown, rainbow, and cutthroat trout. It also produces good numbers of trophy lake trout. Amenities are primitive.
Use caution when fishing this highly fluctuating reservoir, especially during this time of the season with spring run-off conditions.
Danielle Orcutt is a bird-lover from Massachusetts who is discovering new fine-feathered friends during her first summer in Leadville.