SCE Takes Ospreys’ Home Under Its Wings
David Kay has long had a passion for the Ballona Wetlands near Marina del Rey, helping with restoration efforts based on his experience as a senior environmental manager for Southern California Edison.
Eric Strauss, executive director of Loyola Marymount University’s Center for Urban Resilience, has a passion for birds, especially those that often inhabit wetlands.
So, it seemed like a natural when the two landed on the idea of installing a wooden power pole and platform for an osprey nest on the Loyola campus, which overlooks the Ballona Wetlands.
It would serve the dual purpose of helping restore the wetlands while providing an educational opportunity for students and the public to learn about the large fish-eating hawks.
What began as just an idea 18 months ago became reality this summer when SCE donated a 65-foot wooden power pole. The university built a wooden platform to hold the osprey nest. The pole also has a video camera that will broadcast the birds’ activities on the school’s website. The university will hold a dedication ceremony Tuesday to recognize the project.
“Edison is committed to being a good environmental steward,” said Kay, who helped arrange for installation of the pole and the permit approval process. “We live and work in the community and projects like this allow us to give back to it.”
Strauss said nesting platforms are popular with osprey in urban areas because they mimic the dead trees they normally would nest in. He is eager to see if they succeed in attracting osprey during nesting season next spring and watching how it affects the wetlands’ ecosystem.
“Getting a top-order predator like the osprey, I hope, will bring some measurable changes,” he said.
Edison is committed to being a good environmental steward. We live and work in the community and projects like this allow us to give back to it.”David Kay, SCE Senior Environmental Manager
The project was also welcomed by Robert Dorame, chairman of the Gabrielino Tongva Tribe, which once lived in the area. He remembers as a boy walking in the wetlands with his father.
“Sighting an osprey was a rare event and made the day special due to their beautiful coloring and the way they landed,” he said. “We always felt blessed if we saw them.”
Because of the area’s cultural significance, SCE took great care installing the power pole. The crew dug the hole by hand while an SCE archaeologist and an SCE biologist stood by to ensure nothing of cultural or environmental importance was disturbed.
Dorame, who will provide a special Native American blessing during the dedication ceremony, said he appreciates SCE’s efforts.
“When I learned they were hoping to bring back the osprey through the help of a nesting site, I was not surprised at all that SCE stepped up and donated the materials, equipment, the labor and their best wishes for success of this endeavor,” he said. “It seems to be indicative of the company to be good neighbors in our communities.”