By Joe Bachman
NEKOOSA — Few know how Domtar and local residents are teaming up to save bald eagles in the area.
Nekoosa’s Riverside Park plays host to an eagle’s nest and two eaglets in an oak tree on Domtar property, right across from the Wisconsin River. This is part of a larger project to bring bald eagles back from near extinction.
Over the past 40 years, numbers of the American icon have increased enormously in the state, going from only 107 active bald eagle’s nests in 1974, to 1,279 in 2014. Residents can catch bald eagle sightings not just in Nekoosa, but even Wisconsin Rapids and Port Edwards.
“It’s pretty remarkable to see the increasing numbers across the state,” said Domtar Environmental Superintendent Dave Ulrich. “In our last project areas, our last survey identified three different active bald eagle nests — they’ve really made a tremendous comeback.”
The plan to keep the habitat alive and functioning is easier than one may think — to simply give the bald eagles an environment to live in peace.
“Our bald eagle management plan is not that fancy — it’s to maintain the habitat to allow them to choose to come,” said Ulrich. “We don’t cut down any trees, or promote human activity in those areas, or any forestry. We keep the trees in good shape, and keep the people away as best we can.”
However, they aren’t alone in their efforts. Nekoosa officials have gone to great lengths to join the effort and make sure the property is habitable and maintained for Domtar’s program.
“The city actively cuts the grass and make sure the trees are in good shape. In all the lands we have in the area, we have a real nice partnership with the city of Nekoosa,” said Domtar Government Relations Manager Craig Timm. “One key element is that it’s a matter of that we recognize the bald eagle and its importance to the United States. It’s a symbol, and we just try to keep it undisturbed. Having Riverside Park is a place to keep it undisturbed where people can still view it.”
Riverside Park in Nekoosa is located at 916 Prospect Ave.