PASCAGOULA -- Two baby owls found nesting in an elevator shaft scheduled for demolition have temporarily stalled a $1.4 billion expansion project at Chevron Pascagoula Refinery, officials said.
The Great Horned Owls were found by workers surveying the elevator shaft on Feb. 17. They were in a nest nearly 125 feet above the ground.
“As soon as we found the owls, we contacted fish and wildlife experts for help identifying the type of owl and guidance in how best to protect them,” said Randy Thweatt, Chevron health, environmental and safety lead for major capital projects. “They told us the owls will probably leave the nest on their own in about six weeks, so the best plan seems to be to just let nature takes its course.”
The Pascagoula Base Oil Project, which began in 2009, includes both new construction and adaptations of existing structures within the refinery.
Workers have been redirected to other portions of the project, and the feathered guests are not expected to delay the overall construction timeline. The project is expected to be complete in 2013.
Everyone has been instructed to stay at least 75 feet away from the nest to avoid disturbing the fledglings and causing stress on the mother, he said.
For a picture: Great Horned Owls fledgelings
Read more of the story in Friday’s Biloxi Sun Herald.