U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

NEWS RELEASE


U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
134 UNION BOULEVARD
LAKEWOOD, COLORADO 80228

February 6, 1997

Ray Rauch (303) 289-0350
Ronel Finley (303) 289-0232 ext 117
Sharon Rose (303) 236-7905

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE AND FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION TO DEVELOP PLAN TO PROTECT EAGLE WINTERING ROOST SITE ON ROCKY MOUNTAIN ARSENAL

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Federal Aviation Administration jointly announced today a collaborative effort to prevent displacement of eagles at a communal winter roosting area due to specific runway activities at Denver International Airport. During the next few weeks, the two federal agencies will be working on a solution to this problem that will address the needs of bald eagles using the Rocky Mountain Arsenal as a roosting site.

"Within the next few weeks, we should have a working agreement that will protect the Arsenal's eagle winter roosting site from disturbance from flights leaving runway 25 in an effort to prevent the eagles from relocating to a more contaminated area on the Arsenal," said Ralph Morgenweck, Director for Fish and Wildlife Service's Mountain-Prairie Region. " Not only does this change in roosting sites affect the birds, but clean up efforts on the Arsenal would have to be stopped during certain times of the year, during use by the birds," he added. "Now that our two agencies have sat down to the table together, I think we both know where we need to go and will now dedicate the time and effort to get there," Morgenweck said. "With the end of the winter roosting season approaching, it is imperative that a solution to the problem be found quickly," he added.

"We recognize our responsibility under the Endangered Species Act to avoid harm to the bald eagles at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal," said FAA Regional Administrator Larry Andriesen. "We will be devoting every effort to a change proposal that fulfills that requirement while minimizing impacts on operations at DIA."

Ten years of data indicated that winter roosting bald eagles have historically concentrated in a few trees on the eastern edge of the Refuge. Since the opening of Denver International Airport, the majority of the eagles have moved approximately two miles west to locations nearer to contaminated areas of the Arsenal. The contaminated areas are scheduled for future remediation, meaning that clean up activities could be severely hampered or stopped when the eagles are using the new roost site.

As winter roosting areas for bald eagles disappear with more human encroachment, the sanctuary provided by the Refuge becomes increasingly more important to their continued survival. Cooperative efforts like this in concert with other positive actions throughout the country will assist in the recovery of this species and contribute to the eventual delisting of the bald eagle from the federal endangered species list.


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