February 14, 2012
Georgia Parham 812-334-4261 x 1203
Deanne Endrizzi 612-713-5441
Bald Eagle Nest Near Deer River Relocated
A bald eagle nest one mile west of Deer River, Minnesota, visible from Hwy. 2, has been moved because of concern that the nest and nest tree might fall and strike nearby power transmission lines, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The relocation was conducted under provisions of a permit issued by the Service to Otter Tail Power under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
The Service issued a permit allowing relocation of the nest after other means of avoiding or minimizing disturbance were exhausted by the company. The company is upgrading transmission lines along a corridor from Bemidji and Grand Rapids, and has worked with the Service to avoid and minimize impacts to five eagle nests within the work area. The nest was not active at the time of removal, so eagles had not yet returned to the area and had not laid eggs.
“We know that people in the area are concerned about the nest, and we want to reassure the public that the nest has been successfully relocated on a platform placed in a location about ½ mile south, where we expect to encounter little if any disturbance,” said Deanne Endrizzi, wildlife biologist with the Service’s Midwest Region Migratory Bird office. “It’s our goal under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act to find solutions to situations such as this one that are good for people and good for eagles.”
The nest will be monitored in the coming months to determine if the eagles use it for nesting this year. The site of the nest removal will also be monitored to determine if the eagles try to re-nest in the same location. As partial mitigation for removing the nest, the company will construct a second nest platform in the general area at a site which is considered to be preferable eagle habitat.
An environmental consultant for Otter Tail Power said a pair of bald eagles built the nest last year after a previous nest in a nearby tree was lost when the tree fell down. Because the new nest was relocated within the bald eagle’s territory, it is likely the pair will find the nest while foraging or defending their territory. Additionally, because the nest was relocated before the breeding season began, the eagles will have ample opportunity to build another nest if they do not like the new location.
The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act was passed by Congress in 1940 to protect eagles from shooting, trapping, possession, sale and other activities. Eagles recovered, but then declined again with widespread use of the pesticide DDT, shooting, and habitat loss. In 1963 the population in the lower 48 states was estimated at 487 nesting pairs. Bald eagles were listed under an early version of the Endangered Species Act in 1967, and listed as endangered or threatened in the lower 48 states with the passage of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 Protections of the ESA, recovery efforts by states, tribes and other partners, and the ban on DDT set the stage for an eagle comeback.
The national symbol was removed from the list of endangered and threatened species in 2007 when the population the conterminous 48 states was estimated at nearly 10,000 pairs. The bald eagle continues to be protected by federal laws, including the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, both of which prohibit destruction of eagles and their nests, chicks and eggs. The Eagle Protection Act contains provisions under which disturbance of eagles may occur if a permit is issued and conservation measures are undertaken.
For more information about bald eagles, visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Midwest website at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/eagle/
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