PGC: Bald eagle removed from the threatened species list


The bald eagle has officially been removed from Pennsylvania’s threatened species list.

The Board of Game Commissioners on Tuesday voted unanimously reclassify the bald eagle as a Pennsylvania “protected” species.

The commissioners’ vote follows the close of a 60-day period to accept public comments on the proposal.

Game Commission endangered birds biologist Patti Barber told the commissioners 65 comments were submitted in the process; 52 of them were supportive of delisting. And of the 13 comments opposing delisting, 10 of them cited concern that delisting would somehow leave eagles more vulnerable and less protected.

That simply isn’t the case, Barber assured the commissioners.

In being removed from the state’s threatened species list, the bald eagle will be upgraded to “protected” status, Barber said. As the name implies, she said, the eagle will continue to enjoy protections provided by the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Lacey Act. Regulations will continue to restrict activity near eagle nests, she pointed out.

The recommendation to remove the bald eagle from the state’s threatened species list is triggered by the Game Commission’s bald-eagle management plan, which calls for delisting when all of four criteria are met for a five-year span. That happened in 2013, when 271 bald-eagle nests were documented in 57 Pennsylvania counties, and there were an average of 1.2 fledglings per successful nest.

The removal of the bald eagle from the state’s threatened species list caps a remarkable recovery for bald eagles in Pennsylvania. In 1983, when the Game Commission launched what would become a seven-year restoration program, only three known nests remained in Pennsylvania, all of them in Crawford County in the northwestern corner of Pennsylvania, along the Ohio border.

~ by zaktansky on February 1, 2014.

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