When the weather turns warm, LG&E and KU power plants are a haven for winged and four-legged neighbors — everything from ducks, turkeys, foxes, turtles, bobcats, deer, peregrine falcons, and even the occasional osprey and American bald eagle.
While there are many types of wildlife at the plants, a few select special friends have earned a place of honor at the facilities.
Trimble County's "Oreo," the plant's resident deer for the last six years, is often seen roaming the property and greeting employees and contractors.
"She's getting pretty old and is a special friend to all," said Joan Lipp, manager of Major Capital Projects in Project Engineering.
Osprey can be seen nesting at Ohio Falls this spring, and sometimes American bald eagles are spotted soaring around the property. "One morning, one of our employees saw a bald eagle in a small tree by the entrance gate," said Ohio Falls Production Supervisor Kerry Johnson. "He said you really don't realize just how big they are until you get really close to them."
At Mill Creek, plant personnel watch over Diana, the resident peregrine falcon since 2006. On May 10, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources banded four of Diana's young falcons from this year's nesting season.
KDFWR also banded two peregrine falcon chicks growing in the nest box at Ghent this year and named the plant its 2018 "Cooperator of the Year."
Preservation efforts in place
It's no surprise animals and birds call LG&E and KU's power plants home, thanks in part to the dedication of company employees.
The company adopted in 2008 an Avian Protection Plan to protect birds from coming in contact with electrical equipment and power lines. The plan's managed by the Avian Protection Committee, comprised of employees from business areas companywide. The committee tracks avian-related issues across the company and updates the plan as needed to meet regulatory requirements.
E.W. Brown Plant Manager Jeff Fraley and Environmental Coordinator Angela Zevely are members of the Herrington Lake Conservation League, an organization dedicated to the preservation of the natural beauty of the lake and surrounding water shed.
Trimble County and Ohio Falls have areas carved out decades ago for wildlife preservation. Nestled at Trimble County sits the more than 100-acre Corn Creek Oxbow area that was part of the original plant site purchase and set aside in the 1970s.
In 1982, Ohio Falls was designated a landmark in the National Wildlife Conservation Area. The 1,000-acre site around the plant is maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
"You never know what you'll see next," said Johnson. "They somehow know that they are protected here."