Game Commission Seeks Public Comment on Bald Eagle Plan
HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Pennsylvania Game Commission is seeking public input on a draft bald eagle management plan, which can be reviewed on the agency’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) by clicking on the “Draft Eagle Management Plan” icon under the large photo in the center of the homepage.
Public comments on the agency’s eagle management plan will be accepted until March 3, via the website or by mail to: Eagle Management Plan, Pennsylvania Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797.
“We are seeking public comment on this draft eagle management plan to ensure the resulting final management plan considers the thoughts and concerns of Pennsylvanians about this species,” said Calvin W. DuBrock, Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife Management director. “As written, the plan is science-based, progressive and promotes responsible management of bald eagles. We’re interested in hearing from Pennsylvanians who would like to offer comments, and to see if we’ve missed something or if they share our management vision for the future.”
Developed by biologists with the agency’s Wildlife Diversity Division, the eagle management plan establishes management goals through 2019. The mission of this plan is to increase and maintain bald eagle populations in suitable habitat that contributes to sustaining its population throughout the Commonwealth for the foreseeable future, while providing recreational viewing opportunities for the citizens of Pennsylvania.
“The criteria to consider eagles recovered is a self-perpetuating nesting population of at least 150 pairs with a productivity rate of at least 1.2 eaglets per successful nest and 60 percent of known nests successful over a five-year period,” said Dan Brauning, Wildlife Diversity Division chief and co-author of the draft management plan. “This objective is expected to be reached by 2012, if the recent population trend continues. Achieving this objective will mark a dramatic success in the recovery of our nation’s symbol, here in Pennsylvania. Protections and management of this species will continue under the authority of the national Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and other federal and state laws. The agency will continue to protect eagle nests from disturbance and also turn to more proactive, educational, and cooperative measures to advance the conservation of the species and protect it as much as the changing regulatory environment will allow. At this point, there are at least 190 active nesting pairs in the state.
“This charismatic symbol of successful conservation and high habitat quality can be used to promote conservation of a diversity of life forms that so many Pennsylvanians cherish. With such a popular flagship conservation species, we anticipate widespread cooperation with the agency’s plan, including monitoring, protection and management.”
Doug Gross, Game Commission ornithologist and co-author of the draft management plan, noted that the recovery of the bald eagle in Pennsylvania has been a cause for celebration by a diversity of citizens who enjoy wildlife.
“The bald eagle is one of the most recognizable and admired birds of the Commonwealth, the nation, and the world, and as such, has its place on the Game Commission’s logo,” Gross said. “A fairly short time ago, it was rare and only locally distributed in the state. The bald eagle has long been a symbol of not only the nation, but also of the modern threats faced by wildlife. It has even re-established nesting populations in parts of the state where it has not nested for more than a century. This brings it in more contact with humans, bringing both opportunities and challenges.”
The Game Commission currently classifies the bald eagle as a threatened species in Pennsylvania. They were removed from the federal endangered species list by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2007, because delisting goals had been achieved. If the Game Commission removes the bald eagle from the Pennsylvania Threatened Species Listing, it still we be protected by state and federal law and managed as a state species of special concern by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
In 1983, the Game Commission began a seven-year bald eagle restoration program in which the agency sent employees to Saskatchewan to obtain eaglets from wilderness nests. The Richard King Mellon Foundation of Pittsburgh and the federal Endangered Species Fund provided financial assistance for this effort. In all, 88 bald eaglets from Canada were released from sites at Dauphin County’s Haldeman Island and Pike County’s Shohola Falls. The resurgence of eagles in Pennsylvania is directly related to this program, which also was carried out in other states in the Northeast.
For more information about the eagles, visit the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) and put your cursor on “Wildlife” in the menu bar at the top of the page, click on “Endangered Species” and then click on “Bald Eagle” in the list of “Threatened Species.”
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Game Commission