Eagles Subject Of PGC Inquiry
Inside the Outdoors, January
14, 2011

When I read that the Pennsylvania Game Commission was seeking out public comment concerning the bald eagle, the first thing that came to my mind was, “If this would have happened ten years ago, my answer may have been simply put –“No can find.” But they’re back, folks, and some people are telling me that in certain parts of the state, they are much more plentiful than around here.

I recall a number of years ago I was traveling from Latrobe to Ligonier when I spotted what I thought was an eagle in the medial strip near the bed and breakfast lake. I thought it was quite odd, to tell you the truth, because eagles were only found as our country’s symbol, on postage stamps or postcards. Never would I have believed that I would see one outside the Pittsburgh zoo.

So, there one is sat in a tree, so as to say, looking at me. And I stared back, of course, as we zoomed past.

I had to clear my mind of uncertainty, so I contacted the Powdermill Nature Reserve and talked to a young fellow there. He confirmed that often eagles, as other species, will use the Loyalhanna Creek as a migratory route to get from one point to another.

So, the PGC has posted a draft bald eagle management plan on its web site. If interested, click on www.pgc.state.pa.us. After bringing up the site’s home page, then click on the “Draft Eagle Management Plan” icon under the large photo in the center and the information should be located.

Now, according to Jerry Feaser of the PGC, “Public comments on the agency’s eagle management plan will be accepted until March 3, via the web site or by mail to: Eagle Management Plan, Pennsylvania Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797.”

“We’re interested in hearing from Pennsylvanians who would like to offer comments,” says Calvin W. DuBrock, Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife management director. “We want to see if we missed something or if they share our management vision for the future.”

The biologists from the agency’s Wildlife Diversity Division are the ones responsible for setting up the plan. It continues on until 2019. “The mission is to increase and maintain bald eagle populations in suitable habitat that contributes to sustaining its population throughout the Commonwealth for the foreseeable future, while providing recreational view opportunities for the citizens of Pennsylvania,” DuBrock said.

“The criteria to consider eagles recovered is a self-perpetuating nesting population of at least 150 pairs with a productivity rate of at least 1.2 eaglets per successful nest and 60 percent of known nests successful over a five-year period,” said Dan Brauning, Wildlife Diversity Division child and co-author of the draft management plan. “This objective is expected to be reached by 2012, if the recent population trend continues. Achieving this objective will mark a dramatic success in the recovery of our nation’s symbol, here in Pennsylvania.”

In other news, tomorrow, Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited will host its Coldwater Conservation Corps training for volunteer stream monitors at the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve in Latrobe.

The new CCC is a program of the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited to monitor trout streams and their watersheds for early detection of the impacts from Marcellus Shale gas extraction. This is made up of a network of volunteer stream stewards who will receive the proper training to monitor waterways. As a result, they will be able to check the health of coldwater streams, especially high quality and exceptional value trout streams and take note if there are any problems.

In as much as the state agencies lack the authority and the resources to check all the streams, stream monitors are necessary at such a time when gas drilling is increasing. Citizen monitoring is legal and consistent with the mission of TU to preserve, protect and sustain PA’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.

For more information concerning tomorrow’s training program, one may call David Sewak, Trout Unlimited Marcellus Shale Field Organizer, at 814-535-4030 or by cell phone at 814-659-1772.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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