Author Topic: MN / Elk River - 2020 / ? & ?  (Read 7941 times)

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Offline The Peregrine Chick

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MN / Elk River - 2020 / ? & ?
« on: February 10, 2009, 15:17 »
Great River Energy Power Station
Elk River, Minnesota

   
(the nestbox photo is courtesy of RCF - thanks!)

General Information from GRE
The Great River Energy peregrine falcons are nesting on the roof of a building at GRE’s Elk River plant in Elk River, MN. This nest was first productive in 2007 and has produced 34 falcons to date (2018).  The site is located next to the Mississippi river and is rich in food resources. The peregrines may or may not be present year-round, but the camera is usually off in the winter. In general, the falcons begin courtship between early and Mid-March and lay eggs between late March and mid-April. Hatch should begin in early to mid-May, fledge generally occurs 38-40 days after that, and young disperse in late August or mid-September. If one or both of the adults migrate, they leave in the late fall. Adult falcon pairs are not believed to migrate together.  Peregrine falcons do not make stick nests. Instead, they make scrape nests on ledges and debris, and feed primarily on birds that they catch in the air. To learn more about peregrine falcons in general, please follow this link to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Peregrine_Falcon/id. To catch up on videos of Great River Energy, please visit our YouTube channel.


Elk River Station is an energy-from-waste plant operating in Elk River, Minnesota that generates 35 to 42 megawatts of electrical power.  The site was originally built as a coal and oil-fired facility in 1950, then construction began on a nuclear power plant (boiling water reactor) in 1959. The nuclear reactor was small (22 MW) and only operated from July 1, 1964 until February 1, 1968 before undergoing decommission and dismantlement in the following years, ending in the early 1970s. It resumed operating on coal and oil in 1968.  In 1989, the facility was again converted, this time to use Refuse Derived Fuel or (RDF) for fuel. Municipal solid waste used to make RDF and is a renewable energy source. Waste arrives from Anoka, Benton, Hennepin, Sherburne, and Stearns counties, and the ash remaining after incineration is taken to a landfill in Becker, Minnesota.

2020 - The Great River Energy Elk River facility is being demolished. Brenda Geisler, our falcon caretaker, worked very hard to get the falcons a new nest box on a structure that GRE is building just for them.

Website link: www.raptorresource.org/great-river-energy-falcons

Between 2007 and 2018, 34+ chicks have fledged from this location.  There have been at least 7 different resident pairs since nesting here began.



Resident Pairs & Offspring:
  • 2019 - Brooklyn & Breezy --> 4 chicks (don't know how many fledged)
  • 2018 - Brooklyn & Breezy --> 4 chicks
  • 2017 - Brooklyn & Mary-Ellen --> 2 chicks
  • 2016 - Brooklyn & Mary-Ellen --> no chicks
  • 2015 - Brooklyn & Mary-Ellen --> 4 chicks
  • 2014 - Sawatzke & Mary-Ellen --> 4 chicks
  • 2013 - Sawatzke & Mary-Ellen --> Lucky (m) & Patricia (f)
  • 2012 - Sawatzke & unbanded female --> Larissa (f) & Scout (f)
  • 2011 - ? & Dot --> Wayne (m), Hanson (m), Elizabeth (f) & Skye (f)
  • 2010 - ? & ? --> Henry (m), Journey (f), Falco (f) & Brooke (f)
  • 2009 - ? & ? --> Roger (m), Royal (m), Edward (m) & Bella (f)
  • 2008 - ? & ? --> Bullet (m), Chase (m) & Lightning (f)
  • 2007 - ? & 30B --> Falcor (m), Dougie (m) & Jennie (f)
« Last Edit: April 27, 2011, 10:21 by The Peregrine Chick »

Offline The Peregrine Chick

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Re: MN / Elk River - 2020 / ? & ?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2020, 16:14 »
Looks like there won't be a cam in Elk River this year ... from their website ...

The Great River Energy Elk River facility is being demolished. Brenda Geisler, our falcon caretaker, worked very hard to get the falcons a new nest box on a structure that GRE is building just for them. However, the site does not have a camera right now and will be offline for 2020. We are looking into ways to return the livestream, which, thanks to Brenda and IT specialist Tamara, was one of our first.

Offline RCF

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Re: MN / Elk River - 2020 / ? & ?
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2020, 18:56 »
Employees install nest box for falcons

February 14, 2020
Work to provide a new home to the peregrine falcons who usually nest at Elk River Energy Recovery Station has begun.

With decommissioning of the Elk River power plant underway, employees chose a new site for the falcons to return to for their typical nesting period from mid-February through March, depending on weather patterns.

Line technicians from Great River Energy’s Big Lake transmission service center set a pole with a platform, nest box and camera on a hill atop the cooperative’s native prairie, adjacent to the power plant.

The project’s next phase of work involves getting the camera that will monitor the falcons’ nesting activities operational. After this is completed, the falcons are expected to occupy the nest box.

The Elk River Energy Recovery Station was taken out of service in 2019 and is being decommissioned.


https://greatriverenergy.com/employees-install-nest-box-for-falcons/

Offline The Peregrine Chick

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Re: MN / Elk River - 2020 / ? & ?
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2020, 22:39 »
For those that may be interested in a little background about WTF plants and why the GRE Elk River plant is being decommissioned ...

Minnesota WTE plant closing after county turns down offer to buy for one dollar
Cole Rosengren / Waste Dive / 26 Nov 2018

Great River Energy (GRE) plans to close the Elk River Resource Recovery Project in Minnesota, as reported by MPR News, due to financial challenges caused in part by declining energy revenues. This includes a 1,000 ton-per-day refuse-derived fuel operation, a 29 MW power plant and an ash landfill.
The utility had approached multiple counties, including Hennepin and Anoka, about potentially purchasing the site. Sherburne County, the final option, decided against it during a Nov. 20 meeting. Even with GRE offering the facility for $1 and promising to cover any potential closure costs through 2020, the lack of necessary tonnage was a primary deal breaker.
With the region's other WTE facilities largely operating at capacity, an estimated 250,000 tons per year of waste is now expected to end up in one of four area landfills. The Star-Tribune previously reported this may shorten their average remaining permitted lifespan to six years.
Dive Insight:

The Elk River site has been processing waste into RDF since a 1989 retrofit and GRE took over the full operation in 2010. GRE, a cooperative, recognized this presented an "extremely unusual decision" for the county and appears to have made the deal as favorable as possible. In addition to the $1 sale price – along with the assumption of $5.4 million worth of closure expenses and $4 million in employee severance through the end of 2020 – it also offered a two-year power purchase agreement weighted in the county's favor.

Yet the facility needs 320,000 tons per year to remain financially viable and has seen its incoming stream steadily decrease since at least 2013. According to documents provided to the Sherburne County Board of Commissioners, only 140,000 tons were guaranteed by GRE during its proposed two-year bridge period. In a memo evaluating the proposal, the county's solid waste administrator wrote that “unless additional guaranteed tonnage are secured in writing, this project will lose money," and "result in fiscal loss to the county."

That same memo also recognized “the overall benefits of processing solid waste rather than relying on indiscriminate land disposal is undisputed,” in keeping with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's (MPCA) waste recovery hierarchy. According to the Energy Recovery Council, the state has seven other active WTE facilities. GRE won an operating contract for one of those sites, owned by Hennepin County, over incumbent Covanta in 2016.

Following the EPA's own national hierarchy, MPCA recently went so far as to start enforcing a decades-old law requiring waste go to WTE facilities with slack capacity, such as GRE's Elk River site, rather than to area landfills. Waste Management (which owns three of the four local landfills) and Republic Services (which owns the fourth) sued, and the matter is pending appeal. Meanwhile, Waste Management plans to begin exporting tonnage from one local site in Burnsville out of state in advance of shrinking capacity.

While Minnesota handles a larger portion of its waste via WTE than landfills, this is not the national norm. Outside of select regions, WTE is still the minority option, and new or expanded projects remain challenging for a host of political reasons. GRE's Elk River facility will now join a list of at least three others — in California, New Jersey and Florida — that have announced closure plans in 2018.

Offline The Peregrine Chick

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Re: MN / Elk River - 2020 / ? & ?
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2020, 22:44 »
From the Raptor Resource website:

This year’s female is once again Breezy 31/P, joined by her mate Brooklyn 65/M. The two are nesting on a tower built especially for them by Great River Energy. The camera is not live at this time.

Egg Laying
Egg #1: March 28, 2020 @ 7:00 AM
Egg #2: March 30, 2020 @ 4:47 PM
Egg #3: April 2, 2020 @ 7:20 AM
Egg #4: April 2, 2020 @4:57 pm

Hatch is expected to begin around May 5


There weren't any additional updates on the website - if the chicks did hatch about May 5th they should be fledging or about to fledge shortly now ...

Offline bcbird

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Re: MN / Elk River - 2020 / ? & ?
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2020, 16:07 »
Thanks for the updates here, TPC. 
The Elk River nest box had been one of the non Manitoba sites I liked to follow.