CELINA – A new online video feed is going “live” Monday, Dec. 12, that allows anyone with Internet access to observe American Bald Eagles nesting, hatching and fledging on the shoreline of Dale Hollow Lake.
This new educational resource – www.daleholloweaglecam.com – is possible through cooperative efforts between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, Friends of Dale Hollow Lake, Dale Hollow Lake Marina Association, Twin Lakes TV, and public donations.
“Our customers are extremely excited about the upcoming launch of the live eagle camera,” said Richard Devries, Dale Hollow Lake Marina Association president. “Marina owners and crew are blessed to see the eagles in the wild and we are excited to share this with our customers and the whole world.”
The Corps approved an easement to install the eagle camera on Corps-managed land and ensured the project followed U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service guidelines. Twin Lakes TV installed a high definition camera high above an eagle’s nest during an inactive period this summer and is giving its subscribers access on Twin Lakes TV Channel 955. Friends of Dale Hollow Lake, a non-profit organization, is also promoting the project with local communities.
Dale Hollow Lake Marina Association contributed the first $5,000 toward the web camera project and has nearly met its goal of $20,000 for expenses, which includes paying for an easement across a private landowner’s farm and installing utility poles and electric service to operate the cameras. Mickey Ledbetter, Willow Grove Marina general manager, and a team at Entertainment Direct, developed the Dale Hollow Eagle Camera web site. The GoFundMe page can be found here.
Tom Allen, vice president and general manager of Sunset Marina and Resort Inc., said the idea for the eagle web cam originated during a lake wide meeting in 2014.
“All entities share a common goal to provide education about the majestic American Bald Eagle to the general public,” Allen said. “This high definition camera will bring the habitat of the American Bald Eagle into the living rooms, computers and mobile devices of everyone around the country.”
In the 1980s into the 1990s, the Nashville District partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, Tennessee Valley Authority, Tennessee Conservation League (now Tennessee Wildlife Federation), Tennessee Tech University, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service in Alaska, Boy Scouts of America, Wildlife Preservation Corps, and local volunteers to reintroduce the American Bald Eagle to the Upper Cumberland region and Dale Hollow Lake.
A total of 44 eagles were transplanted from nests in Alaska, Minnesota and Wisconsin and then reared, tagged and released on the shoreline of Dale Hollow near Irons Creek. The team utilized a technique called “hacking” to care for and release the birds in hopes they would someday return to the vicinity of where they first took flight to nest and reproduce.
Stephen Beason, currently the natural resource manager at Dale Hollow Lake, attended Tennessee Tech in the 1980s and his biology class participated in the Eagle Restoration Program funded by the Corps of Engineers. He said having a web camera is great because the public can see the eagles nesting at Dale Hollow Lake, which demonstrates the successful program that took place decades ago to restore the nation’s symbol to the region.
“This is a great initiative that allows the public to view an eagle’s nest without disturbing them or their habitat,” Beason said. “I hope kids and adults alike benefit from spending time watching the eagle camera at Dale Hollow Lake.”
Eagles declined in Tennessee between the 1950s and 1970s because of the insecticide DDT, which caused infertility or thin egg shells that would break under the weight of adult birds. Due to the banning of DDT and restoration efforts, there are now more than 200 eagle nests across the state of Tennessee.
Dale Hollow Lake also conducts annual Eagle Watch programs the third and fourth Saturday of January. Eagle enthusiasts are transported by open barge in search of wintering bald eagles. The eagle watch tours are free, but advance reservations are required. For more information, visit http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Locations/Lakes/DaleHollowLake/SpecialEvents/eaglewatchreservationinfo.aspx.