Ameren Missouri Begins Installing 1,000 ‘Swan Diverters’ on Power Lines
Ameren Missouri, with oversight from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has begun installing 1,000 “swan diverters” on about 1.5 miles of high-voltage “transmission” power lines that cross the Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary near Alton, Ill.
The devices—each about 24 inches long and resembling a large yellow corkscrew—will be installed by workers from helicopters hovering between 75 and 150 feet off the ground. They will be placed on the highest wires the transmission towers. Called “static wires,” they do not carry electric current but instead are designed to absorb lightning strikes.
Each winter, about 500 swans from Upper Midwest breeding grounds winter at the sanctuary.
Agents from the USFWS Office of Law Enforcement, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and officials from Ameren Missouri became concerned about evidence of swans being injured or killed by flying into the transmission wires. With the diverters in place, the birds should be better able to see the structures and fly over or under them, protecting the birds and electric reliability.
Nearly extinct at the turn of the twentieth century, over the past 30 years, Trumpeter Swan populations have risen by about 400 percent, due to the conservation efforts of USFWS, the Trumpeter Swan Society, various state department of natural resources, conservation areas like the Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary and concerned citizens.
Charlie Duetsch of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says that helping the wintering swans is in line with the sanctuary’s and the Corps’ commitment to stewardship, environmental education and expanded outdoor recreation opportunities.
For more information, please visit www.AmerenMissouri.com