CONTACT:
Martin Murray, PSNH Media Rep.: (603) 634-2228
Liza Poinier, NH Fish and Game: (603) 271-3211
Miranda Levin, NH Audubon: (603) 224-9909
July 29, 2004

"Project Osprey" Partnership Celebrates Successes

CONCORD, N.H. -- Staff and volunteers of "Project Osprey," a unique public/private partnership aimed at restoring to New Hampshire a once-endangered species, gathered yesterday to mark the successful culmination of their five-year effort.

During Project Osprey, the partners -- the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department; New Hampshire Audubon; and Public Service of New Hampshire -- worked together to foster the growth of the population of this majestic raptor, also known as the Fish Hawk. Nesting sites were identified, platform nests were designed, poles with platforms were raised, predator guards were installed, and volunteers monitored and reported on osprey activity.

Today, New Hampshire has a record number of ospreys and active osprey nests. Project Osprey has sited 15 nesting structures around the Granite State. Additionally, ospreys have been observed nesting on platforms constructed and erected years earlier. There were 30 active osprey nests in New Hampshire in 2003 and 54 young fledged, more than 10 times the number in 1980.

"The success of Project Osprey is proof that with time, funding and dedicated people, we can bring back wildlife species from the brink," said John Kanter, coordinator of the Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program for N.H. Fish and Game. "I hope that learning about and celebrating osprey restoration will inspire an increased commitment from people -- and from potential future wildlife partners -- to work toward conserving all New Hampshire wildlife."

"We wouldn't have been able to achieve this success had this not been a partnership," said David Houghton, President of New Hampshire Audubon. "I hope this serves as a model for future projects as we try to deal with other threats to our wildlife such as the unprecedented growth New Hampshire is now facing."

"PSNH is extremely proud to be Project Osprey's corporate partner," said John D. MacDonald, PSNH Vice President - Operations. "We take our responsibility to the environment seriously. Through this experience, and many others across the state, we've learned the value of sharing our resources and working with others to achieve mutual goals efficiently and effectively."

New Hampshire's osprey population was virtually wiped out in the 1960s as a result of contamination linked to DDT, a toxic pesticide. Over time, the partners began to work informally on a number of projects and ospreys slowly repopulated the state.

In 2000, the three organizations formalized their partnership into Project Osprey, a five-year effort designed to remove osprey from the state's threatened species list. Besides the successful location of platform nests, project highlights include: the development of trained volunteer stewards, who monitored and reported on nesting activity; the construction of observation platforms near some nesting sites, to provide the public with an up-close view of ospreys; and the creation of a middle school curriculum that helps children learn about osprey and broader ecological concepts.

Final project work includes the completion of a formal recovery plan which will direct future efforts toward 'delisting' osprey from the state's list of endangered and threatened wildlife.

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