Displaying items by tag: bald eagle

 

(Washington, D.C., March 21, 2016)American Bird Conservancy is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in theBald Eagle deathson Maryland’s Eastern Shore last month. These funds will add to those already contributed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and four other charities totaling $25,000. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has determined that the 13 eagles did not die of natural causes, including disease, and is now investigating human causes, such as possible poisoning, for the incident.

“It is deeply disturbing that 13 of these revered birds appear to have been killed, either deliberately or through reckless negligence,” said Darin Schroeder, ABC’s Vice President of Government Affairs. “Either way, we at American Bird Conservancy will do everything we can to help the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service track down those responsible and bring them to justice.”

Another four Bald Eagles were found dead in Delaware this past weekend; another died soon after. Authorities do not yet know if the Maryland and Delaware cases are related. ABC’s reward offer also applies to the Delaware incident if it proves to be a criminal act.

Bald Eagles are federally protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Maximum fines for violations of those two acts are $100,000 and $15,000 respectively, and up to a year’s imprisonment.

ABC has long been a champion of these magnificent birds, working to reduce threats frompesticidepoisoning, use ofleadammunition, andcollisionswith wind turbines.

“I can’t imagine many more things more important than protecting an iconic bird so widely regarded as a symbol of this country,” said ABC President George Fenwick.

FWS is working with the Maryland Natural Resources Police to solve the Eastern Shore eagle deaths. Anyone with information should call Special Agent John LaCorte with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement in Cambridge, MD, at 410-228-2476, or the Maryland Natural Resources Police Hotline at 800-628-9944.

Feds' Violation of Environmental Laws Cited

Contact: Robert Johns, 202 888 7472, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Bald Eagle, Chris Hill/Shutterstock

Bald Eagle, Chris Hill/Shutterstock

(Washington, D.C., August 12, 2015) The U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, in San Jose has ruled that the Department of the Interior violated federal laws when it created a final regulation allowing wind energy and some other companies to obtain 30-year permits to kill protected Bald and Golden Eagles without prosecution by the federal government. The court decision invalidates the rule.

American Bird Conservancy (ABC), a plaintiff in the lawsuit, hailed the decision. “We are pleased that the courts agreed with us that improper shortcuts were taken in the development of this rule,” said Dr. Michael Hutchins, Director of ABC’s Bird Smart Wind Energy Program. “The court found that important laws meant to protect our nation’s wildlife were not properly followed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, putting Bald and Golden Eagles at greater risk.”

The court wrote: “… substantial questions are raised as to whether the Final 30-Year Rule may have a significant adverse effect on bald and golden eagle populations.”

In particular, the courts cited a lack of compliance with the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). "We’re ready to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct the required NEPA analysis and formulate a better system to protect eagles from poorly-sited wind energy projects,” said Hutchins. “We must come up with a better system to assess the potential risks to birds and bats prior to a project’s siting and construction and to track and mitigate project impacts post-construction.”

The previous “eagle take” rule, adopted in 2009, provided for a maximum duration of five years for each permit to kill eagles. A key part of the court’s ruling held that:  “… FWS has failed to show an adequate basis in the record for deciding not to prepare an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) — much less an EA (Environmental Assessment) — prior to increasing the maximum duration for programmatic eagle take permits by sixfold.”

“ … While promoting renewable energy projects may well be a worthy goal,” the ruling continued, “it is no substitute for the [agency’s] obligations to comply with NEPA and to conduct a studied review and response to concerns about the environmental implications of major agency action. … Accordingly, the Court holds that FWS violated NEPA’s procedural requirements and that the Final 30-Year Rule must therefore be set aside and remanded to FWS for further consideration.”

The court cited concerns that had been raised by FWS staff during development of the 30-year eagle rule, stating: “The record [in the case] bolsters the Court’s conclusion, as FWS’s failure to adequately ‘address concerns raised by its own experts’ is cause for the Court to find a NEPA violation.”

ABC filed the lawsuit on June 19, 2014 in federal court against the Department of the Interior, alleging multiple violations of federal law in connection with the December 9, 2013 rulemaking. ABC contended that DOI violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, and other statutes.

ABC believes that wind energy and other renewable energy sources can be encouraged without putting Bald and Golden Eagles, and other protected wildlife, at risk. Proper siting of turbines is critical: New ABC-funded research has revealed that more than 30,000 wind turbines have been installed in areas critical to the survival of federally-protected birds in the United States and that more than 50,000 additional turbines are planned for construction in similar areas.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is one of ABC’s most important partners,” said ABC President George Fenwick. “We collaborate frequently, share many goals, and have enjoyed many successes together. However, FWS is encountering unprecedented financial constraints that lead to shortcuts and poor decisions. We hope that this court decision shines a light on the need for the Service to be fully empowered to do the job it is mandated to do. Our nation’s wildlife – and the agency appointed to protect it – deserve nothing less.”

ABC is represented by the Washington, D.C. public interest law firm of Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal.

ABC's efforts to establish Bird Smart wind energy in the U.S. are made possible in part by the generous support of the Leon Levy Foundation.


American Bird Conservancy is the Western Hemisphere’s bird conservation specialist—the only organization with a single and steadfast commitment to achieving conservation results for native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With a focus on efficiency and working in partnership, we take on the toughest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on sound science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.