Eagle's Nest Halts Tobesofkee Development
"That would be a nice view looking back across the lake, having a house up here," said Tobesofkee Recreation Area Director Doug Furney as he drifted near the shore of Lake Tobesofkee near Claystone Park.
The site was purchased by LW Investments, a realty agency based in Knoxville, Tenn. The company had its eyes set on 140 acres of prime real estate just off the water, so did an American Bald Eagle.
"Right up in one of those trees there," said Furney as he pointed to the large nest high into a pine tree. "It was discovered a few months ago that there is an eagle's nest right on the most valuable part of the property.
"This is probably our earliest nesting bird that we have. and right now there's probably eggs or young birds in that nest," said Jim Ozier, Program Manager of the Department of Natural Resources Nongame Conservation Section.
Ozier says the presence of the nest places restrictions on the development of land the size of two football fields. In LW's case, 10 of the 71 lots cannot be built on.
"These measurement zones do extend out into areas they would like to do some road building and eventual house construction," said Ozier.
"As long as the nest is there they would have to get a permit to proceed," added Furney.
That permit would allow some construction within 660 feet if it does not inhibit the eagle's nesting but no construction within 300 feet.
"They don't extend through the whole property, so my understanding is what they're going to do is go ahead and apply for the permit which would allow them to go ahead and develop areas near the nest," said Ozier. "The guidelines would otherwise permit and probably if they do this carefully at the right times, it could well be the eagles stay around."
To Furney, preservation of the national bird is priority.
"Just a few years ago you wouldn't hear about an eagle being on this lake."