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The Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

March 17, 2000
Cindy Hoffman, 202-208-3008
Sharon Rose, 303-236-7917 x 415

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Eagle 2000 Awards Program To Honor
Those Involved In The Recovery of the Bald Eagle

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is asking for your help in nominating individuals and organizations who have played a significant role in the recovery of our national symbol, the bald eagle. Eagle 2000 Awards will be an opportunity to recognize Americans for their outstanding contributions to the eagle’s recovery.

The bald eagle once ranged throughout every state in the Union except Hawaii. When America adopted the bird as its national symbol in 1782, as many as 100,000 nesting bald eagles lived in the lower 48 states. By 1963, only 417 nesting pairs remained due to habitat destruction and the use of DDT and other organochlorine pesticides which caused egg shells to thin and crack, resulting in nesting failures.

Today, due to recovery efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in partnership with other federal agencies, tribes, state and local governments, conservation organizations, universities, corporations and thousands of individual Americans, this number has risen to an estimated 5,748 nesting pairs. Thanks to the efforts of Americans all across the country working together, the Service proposed to remove the bald eagle from the Endangered Species list on July 2, 1999. The Service expects to make a final decision on the proposal in July 2000.

The Service urges citizens to nominate those whose work has played a significant role in the recovery of the bald eagle. Nominees for the awards should have achieved significant results in the protection and recovery of the species. Nominations can be for organizations and individuals from both inside and outside the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, from other federal or state agencies, non-government organizations and private citizens. The ten individuals or organizations who have shown the greatest contribution to the recovery effort will be chosen by a panel of noted conservationists to receive the awards.

The nomination form can be found on the Service home page at www.fws.gov. Copies of the form also are available from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1849 C Street, NW, Room 3359, Washington, DC 20240. The nomination process will run until April 30, 2000. A nomination form must be completely filled out to be considered. Awards will be presented to the winners in an awards ceremony to be scheduled at a later date.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Services manages the 93-million- acre National Wildlife Refuge System of more than 520 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries, 64 fish and wildlife management assistance offices, 64 Fishery Resource Offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.


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