Vermont's Endangered Species Committee approves a motion to remove ("delist") the Bald Eagle from the State List of Endangered and Threatened Species.
Vermont's Bald Eagle population has been soaring in recent years - the species is well on its way to recovery. In fact, both Vermont's Endangered Species Committee and the Scientific Advisory Committee on Birds have recommended that Bald Eagles be removed from the state endangered list and officially be considered recovered.
The establishment of a healthy Bald Eagle population in Vermont is cause for celebration.
The Department of Fish & Wildlife, Audubon Vermont, National Audubon Society, Outreach for Earth Stewardship, and numerous community scientists have been involved in the effort to bring eagles to a point where they can be "delisted." Congratulations is in order to everyone involved, and we hope to see the motion go through to final rule.
If Bald Eagles are delisted, several measures will be in place to ensure their continued success. Biologists and community scientists will continue to monitor the population and protect breeding sites from disturbance and habitat loss, and there will be criteria place for relisting the species if it experiences significant declines. Legal protections will also be in place to protect eagles and their breeding habitat through the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
Bald Eagles were one of the first species to be listed as Endangered on both the federal and state lists of endangered species. They were removed from the federal list in 2006, but have remained listed as an Endangered Species on Vermont's list since 1987.
The approval of the motion to remove Bald Eagles from the state's Endangered list is just one important step in the process of delisting Bald Eagles. Next, the Agency of Natural Resources will review the motion and send it to the Secretary for approval. Then it will go to the Vermont legislature. After a public comment period, the state legislature will make a formal rule to delist the Bald Eagle.
The recovery of Bald Eagles in Vermont has been a long, collaborative process. During the 1970's and 80's when other northeastern states were actively working to recover the species through reintroduction efforts, Vermont did not receive the funds to take a role. In 2003, however, an appropriation sponsored by Senator Jeffords supplied the funding needed to reintroduce eagles into the state. At the time, Vermont was the last holdout in the lower 48 - the only state without any breeding eagles. Twenty-nine young eagles were reintroduced over three years at Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area. At the same time, Vermont discovered its first breeding pair, which likely came from a neighboring state.
For more information on Bald Eagle recovery in Vermont, visit vt.audubon.org/eagle
Contact: Margaret Fowle, Audubon Vermont, Margaret.Fowle@audubon.org, (802) 434-3006
About Audubon Vermont: Audubon Vermont is a state office of the National Audubon Society, an organization committed to protecting birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works across Vermont using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Our programs, members, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that informs, inspires, and unites diverse communities in conservation action. Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive.