U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has officially reverted back to offering wind farm developers eagle take permits for a limit of only five years instead of thirty.
In 2009, the FWS authorized regulations under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA) to provide programmatic permits to cover the non-purposeful “take” (i.e., injuring, killing or otherwise disturbing) of eagles at wind projects for a limited period of up to five years. In 2013, the agency published a rule extending the maximum incidental take permit period to 30 years.
The American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and several other plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in 2014 against the FWS and the U.S. Department of the Interior, charging that the new eagle take rule violated the BGEPA, Endangered Species Act, and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The rule change is to comply with a court order.
Bald eagle sightings are common in Huron County. The area between Rush Lake Sate Game Area and Sleeper State Park seem to draw the raptures. In 2011 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated Michigan has more than 700 pairs of the once-endangered species. That’s up from 630 pairs in 2010 and 85 in 1970.