The next time you see a bald eagle with a backpack, don’t think twice about it. That’s because the eagle is part of a Salt River Project (SRP) environmental project.
“It’s not strange. It’s just working with us,” said Lesly Swanson, a senior environmental scientist with SRP. “We have six backpacks with solar panels on them and they will ping data and work with the SRP data system to understand where the birds are hanging out.
“Eagles have been very common around the reservoirs and we’ve been doing a good job maintaining them,” Swanson said. “They’re showing up on golf courses in the metropolitan area.”
Swanson was featured on the Mesa Chamber of Commerce’s “Mesa Morning Live” show last month with Laddie the Eagle from Liberty Wildlife Education.
“We work close with Liberty Wildlife Education and Laddie came off the Verde River where she was taken out of her nest and dropped to the ground,” Swanson said.
SRP’s environmental policy is to be committed to the protection and preservation of natural and cultural resources. As the nation’s oldest multipurpose Federal Reclamation Project, SRP was founded on the principle of resource stewardship, Swanson said. They demonstrate this commitment by using innovative policies, programs and technologies to responsibly manage local water and power resources in the East Valley.
“Sometimes we get information and it’s too late,” Swanson said, adding that eagles “are actually trained to take out drones.”
If you see an eagle you can help by contacting SRP at 602-236-2473 (BIRD) and they will see if the bird is in their territory and go to work.
Swanson said it can be any bird, not just eagles because “SRP is concerned with all birds.”
– Kelly Mixer is managing editor of MyNewsMesa.com. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.