Sunday, July 21, 2013

Eagle watch

Special Condition 4 requires monitoring for the presence of bald eagle nests within 1000 feet of airport operations until such time as the airport becomes fully operational. We asked the Corps why an operational airport would trigger termination of the monitoring program. They answered that the eagle experts they consulted advised that eagles are unlikely to nest in proximity to an operational airport.

If bald eagle nests are found, the applicant is required to notify the Austin Ecological Field Office of the U.S, Fish and Wildlife agency in order to comply with regulations relative to the bald eagle. What a great idea! And thanks to the Corps for trying to protect a magnificent bird. But again who’s going to be watching? And if nests are found will they be reported? Or would their presence be interpreted as an operational hurdle to be neutralized? Could this requirement actually put bald eagles in danger?

If construction ever gets underway, eyes on the river would be a real asset not only to help locate nests but also to make sure those nests are reported to Fish and Wildlife. StopCTA will work with Audubon and other area birders, to encourage regular citizen monitoring.

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