With its firm commitment to environmental stewardship, Eversource is partnering with wildlife researchers to study black bears and bobcats living on company land. Berlin-based Eversource protects and maintains tens-of-thousands of acres of forested wildlife habitat throughout Connecticut, land that is home to the animals at the center of the two wildlife research projects being done by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and UConn.
“Our environmental stewardship and sustainability efforts are important to us and these partnerships allow scientists to better understand these animals, their habits and how that might affect how we manage this land,” said Eversource Vice President of Sustainability and Environmental Affairs Catherine Finneran.
Working with Eversource’s Real Estate Management Department, DEEP wildlife biologists identified a 40-acre parcel of Eversource-owned land in Avon, where a black bear sow was denning with her two young cubs.
“The scientists and I hiked through the woods to triangulate the bears’ location using a GPS device that corresponds with the sow’s satellite collar,” said Eversource Real Estate Administrator Gillian Carroll. “Once the bear was immobilized, they took body measurements, temperature readings, fur and blood samples and changed the batteries in the GPS tracker so the bears’ location can be tracked for the next two years.”
The data collected will be incorporated into a larger study of black bears in eight other Northeastern states through a federal program called “Partner with a Payer” – an initiative of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program involving state and industry partners for wildlife and conservation research as well as state management plans.
“Much of Eversource’s land is essentially untouched forest, dense with tree cover and vegetation, so it’s the perfect habitat for black bear,” said Jason Hawley, Wildlife Biologist at DEEP.
“This data will help us better understand how the bears are moving around and interacting with their environment,” Hawley added.
Eversource is also a collaborating partner with DEEP and UConn to track and study how bobcats interact on forested land within urbanized settings, utilizing Eversource-owned land in Hartford, West Hartford, Windsor, Bloomfield, Avon, Farmington, Simsbury and Canton.
The information gathered on the Eversource properties, which represents only a portion of the total study area, will be used to track population numbers, movements and activities of bobcats for the CT Bobcat Project.