FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE #: R00-009
March 24, 2000
Contact: Tom MacKenzie 404/ 679-7291
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 ten awards.
The nomination form can be found on the Service home page at http://www.fws.gov/beagle.html. 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.