USFWS Offices and Refuges Near You

The Midwest Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. Find a location near you.

The Midwest Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. Find a location near you »

 

Conserving the Nature of America

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

History of Bald Eagle Decline, Protection and Recovery

 

 

 

 

(View Full Timeline Below)

 

Recovery

The Bald Eagle's recovery is an American success story. Forty years ago, the bald eagle, our national symbol, was in danger of extinction throughout most of its range. Habitat destruction and degradation, illegal shooting, and the contamination of its food source, due to use of the pesticide DDT, decimated the eagle population. Habitat protection afforded by the Endangered Species Act, the federal government’s banning of DDT, and conservation actions taken by the American public helped Bald Eagles make a remarkable recovery. Bald eagles no longer need Endangered Species Act protection because their population is protected, healthy, and growing.

 

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Laws that Protect the Bald Eagle

Before the Bald Eagle was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, it was protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

 

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Full Timeline

1940 - Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (University of Michigan)

The bald eagle first gained federal protection in 1940 when Congress passed the Bald Eagle Protection Act. It was later amended to include golden eagles and renamed the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

 

1966: Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966 authorizes land acquisition to conserve “selected species of native fish and wildlife.”

 

1969: Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969 expands on the 1966 act, authorizing the compilation of a list of animals “threatened with worldwide extinction” and prohibits their importation without a permit. Crustaceans and mollusks are included for protection, along with mammals, fish, birds, and amphibians.

 

1972 - Eagles gain protection under Migratory Bird Treaty Act

The taxonomic family that includes bald eagles gained protection by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1972 when the United States and Mexico agreed to a supplement to the migratory bird convention they first signed in 1936. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act is the law that implements treaties for the protection of shared migratory bird resources signed by the United States with Canada, Japan, Mexico and Russia.

 

1972 - DDT banned in United States

William D. Ruckelshaus, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, issued an order canceling nearly all remaining Federal registrations of DDT products.

 

1973- Endangered Species Act signed into law; Bald Eagle included on list as Endangered

 

1982 - Southwestern Bald Eagle Recovery Plan Adobe PDF Icon

 

1983 - Northern States Bald Eagle Recovery Plan Adobe PDF Icon

 

1986 - Recovery Plan for the Pacific Bald Eagle (PDF)

 

1989 - Southeastern States Bald Eagle Recovery Plan Adobe PDF Icon

 

1990 - Chesapeake Bay Bald Eagle Recovery Plan Adobe PDF Icon

 

1995 - Final Rule to Change Status of Bald Eagle from Endangered to Threatened

Federal Register Final Rule to Reclassify the Bald Eagle From Endangered to Threatened Adobe PDF Icon

1999 - Proposal to Delist

In 1999 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published, in the Federal Register, a Proposed Rule to remove the Bald Eagle from Endangered Species Act protection. Below is a link to the Federal Register Proposed Rule and a summary of the Rule that we prepared.

1999 Proposed Rule to Delist the Bald Eagle Adobe PDF Icon

 

Summary of 1999 Proposed Rule

2006 - Re-opened comment period on proposal to delist

Federal Register Proposed Rule: reopening of public comment period with new information Adobe PDF Icon

2007 - Final Rule to Delist

The Bald Eagle was removed from the list of Threatened and Endangered Species on August 9, 2007.

2007 Federal Register Final Rule to Delist the Bald Eagle Adobe PDF Icon

 

Questions and Answers about Recovery and Delisting

 

2009 - Final Post-delisting Monitoring Plan

 


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