PHOENIX - The Arizona Game and Fish Department and its partners are lifting some of the closures at lakes and rivers statewide that are put into place annually to help bald eagles during the breeding season.
The closures at the following five sites will be removed effective March 31, 2011 because the bald eagles in these areas failed to produce young and will not breed this late in the spring:
Verde River below Horseshoe Dam
Verde River below Sycamore Canyon Wilderness
Salt River below Stewart Mountain Dam downstream of the Bush Highway Bridge
Salt River near Meddler Point
All other previously announced closures remain in effect because bald eagle breeding activities are still continuing in those areas. The public should contact the local land management agency to ensure the area they are visiting is open for recreational use.
Each year, land and wildlife management agencies close bald eagle breeding areas for part of the year, beginning in December, to protect the state's bald eagles. Outdoor recreationists are asked to help protect these important breeding areas by honoring the closures.
Bald eagles are particularly sensitive to human disturbance during the breeding season and public cooperation with the closures is an important part of helping to conserve the species. Human activity near active bald eagle nests can cause a breeding pair to leave its eggs uncovered, leading to a failed breeding attempt. Human presence can also cause a young bird to prematurely leave the nest.
Management of the bald eagle falls under the Arizona Game and Fish Department's program to recover species that are declining or that have been extirpated from the state.
Through its partnerships with other public agencies, non-profit organizations and the science community, the department's wildlife recovery program aims to prevent species from becoming endangered and conserve them in a more cost-effective manner. State-level involvement provides closer oversight of wildlife species on a day-to-day basis. Specific emphasis is placed on identifying and managing the wildlife and habitat of greatest conservation need, or those species that are no longer abundant and facing increasing threats from habitat degradation, disease, introduction of non-native species and climate change.
Adaptive management of these species helps ensure their continued presence in Arizona and protects the delicate balance of the ecosystem for future generations.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, or disability in its programs and activities. If anyone believes that they have been discriminated against in any of the AGFD's programs or activities, including employment practices, they may file a complaint with the Deputy Director, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85086-5000, (602) 942-3000, or with the Fish and Wildlife Service, 4040 N. Fairfax Dr. Ste. 130, Arlington, VA 22203. Persons with a disability may request a reasonable accommodation or this document in an alternative format by contacting the Deputy Director as listed above.