Discovery of eagle's nest halts work on airport expansion - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Discovery of eagle's nest halts work on airport expansion

A 660 ft. area has been marked around the tree to protect the eagle's nest in the tree. A 660 ft. area has been marked around the tree to protect the eagle's nest in the tree.
The safety zone prevents work from continuing on the runway expansion until at least March. The safety zone prevents work from continuing on the runway expansion until at least March.
GUNTERSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Construction on a portion of a new airport runway in Marshall County is on hold after crews discovered an eagle's nest on the property.

The nest was discovered by logging crews, who reported it to authorities. Because eagles are federally protected, work around the area has stopped for the time being.

Officials with TVA said they conducted an ecological survey of the area at the Guntersville Airport where a runway is to be built several months ago. That survey showed no evidence of nests. Since that time, eagles have built a nest near the end of the proposed 5,000 foot runway, where crews are currently removing trees to begin the construction process.

TVA officials said because the eagle is a federally-protected species, they have marked an area 660 feet around the tree where no people or construction is allowed, as to not disturb the nest.

The city must now wait until the end of nesting season before it can be removed.

"You now have to get a permit, and this is the first permit that the State of Alabama has issued, I believe, since this was actually put into effect," said Guntersville Mayor Leigh Dollar.

Guntersville Economic Development Director Grant Demuth said they are working with federal wildlife officials on a mitigation plan. Meanwhile, the $6.6 million contract is on hold.

Dollar said she hopes construction of the runway can begin by mid-March.

Copyright 2013 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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