Energy Frequently Asked Questions
Bald and Golden Eagle Act
What is the current status of Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles?
Bald Eagles were de-listed from the Endangered Species Act in 2007; however, both species of eagle are still federally protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
What is different between the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act?
The primary difference is the definition of take. While eagles are protected under both laws, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act definition of take is more restrictive than the Migratory Bird Treaty Act definition of take. Both acts include possession (live or dead), injury, or killing as take, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act includes also includes disturb under the definition of take.
Disturb has been defined under BGEPA as “to agitate or bother a bald or golden eagle to a degree that causes, or is likely to cause, based on the best scientific information available, 1) injury to an eagle, 2) a decrease in its productivity, by substantially interfering with normal breeding, feeding, or sheltering behavior, or 3) nest abandonment, by substantially interfering with normal breeding, feeding, or sheltering behavior”
Also, active eagle nests (any nest used within the last 10 years) are protected even if they are unoccupied (no adult, chick, or egg present).
Alternative Energy Development
What are the current guidelines?
The most recent version of the Wind Turbine Guidelines can be found on the national Wind Energy Development Information site.
What if I am developing an alternative energy project other than wind?
Due to the quickly expanding and national scope of wind development, the first guidelines to be developed are for the wind industry. Additional guidelines are forthcoming. In the interim, if you plan on proposing an alternative energy project at any scale, please use the Wind Energy Development Information site as a basic guidance as to the process and information we will need. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Migratory Bird staff and we will help you with your specific issue.
What is the process?
Please contact your local U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office early in the project development process so we can provide the best guidance possible to help you avoid and minimize any potential take. We strongly recommend the development of a Bird and Bat Conservation Strategy (formally called an ABPP). Permits are not available at this time to authorize the incidental take of migratory birds; however we are currently issuing permits to authorize the disturbance and potential take of Bald and/or Golden Eagles. Please contact your Migratory Bird Permit Office as early as possible to discuss if a permit is needed and any particulars surround your permit application.
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December 2, 2011