Proposed Regulation Protecting Bald Eagles to Be Workshop Topic on May 28

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A pair of eagles at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Tony Pratt. The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife will hold a public workshop on a proposed new regulation to protect bald eagles at 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 28 in the DNREC Auditorium, Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover. A public hearing on the proposed regulation will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 4 in the same location.

“Bald eagles are very sensitive to disturbance, which may result in failure of nests or abandonment of nest sites, and, according to scientific studies in the region, require significant no-disturbance buffers around their nests,” said Division Zoologist Christopher Heckscher, noting that in Delaware, the acreage of development in proximity to current nest sites is proposed to double in the next five years. 

Delaware Code currently protects eagles from disturbance but does not define disturbance. The new regulation proposes to adopt the same level of protection to eagle nest sites that was formerly provided under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 prior to the eagle’s removal from the federal Endangered Species List in August 2007.

“In recent year, bald eagles have made a tremendous comeback from the brink of extinction, which led to their removal from the federal Endangered Species List. However, in order ensure their future and to maintain their numbers, they still need our protection,” said Karen Bennett, Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program Manager.

The proposed regulation is available for public inspection at the Division’s Wildlife Section office in the Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover. For more information, please contact Karen Bennett at 302-739-9912 or Christopher Heckscher at 302-653-2880.

Citizens may address written comments on the proposed regulation to the Wildlife Section, Division of Fish and Wildlife, 4876 Hay Point Landing Road, Smyrna, DE 19977, or email comments to karen [dot] bennett [at] state [dot] de [dot] us or christopher [dot] heckscher [at] state [dot] de [dot] us, or to DNREC Hearing Officer Lisa Vest at lisa [dot] vest [at] state [dot] de [dot] us. The record will remain open for written comments until 4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 14.