AZ Game and Fish closes several areas for eagle breeding - Tucson News Now

AZ Game and Fish closes several areas for eagle breeding

One of Arizona's 55 eagle breeding pairs. (Source: Arizona Game and Fish) One of Arizona's 55 eagle breeding pairs. (Source: Arizona Game and Fish)
Buoy used to alert boaters to eagle area (Source: Arizona Game and Fish) Buoy used to alert boaters to eagle area (Source: Arizona Game and Fish)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Arizona's Game and Fish Department is reminding outdoor enthusiasts that this time of year is eagle breeding time and has closed several areas around the state.

The breeding season begins in December, according to an AZGFD release, and to help protect Arizona's 55 known breeding pairs, 23 different areas in the state are closed to public use.  Several of the closure areas are near popular recreation sites. 

"Cooperation from outdoor recreationists during the breeding season is critical and has been a major reason that the population continues to grow. Bald eagles are very sensitive to even short durations of human activity during breeding," stated Kenneth Jacobson, head of the Arizona Game and Fish Department Bald Eagle Management Program, in a recent release. "Breeding areas that are closed and fail to result in successful reproduction will be reopened as soon as they are deemed inactive."

The bald eagle was federally listed as an endangered species in 1978. Nationally, the birds recovered enough to be removed from the list in 2007.
  
Arizona Game and Fish officials have reported that the breeding pairs in the state begin building or rebuilding their nests in preparation for laying eggs.  It is during this nesting time that land and wildlife management agencies enact the seasonal closures.   These bald eagle pairs nest, forage and roost at the rivers and lakes that are part of some of the state's most popular recreation spots, and this time of year can be challenging for the birds.
  
Arizona Game and Fish's bald eagle management efforts are supported by the Heritage Fund, an initiative passed more than 20 years ago to provide for wildlife education and conservation through Arizona lottery ticket sales.

In addition to the closures there is an ‘airspace advisory' issued by the FAA, establishing a 2,000 foot minimum altitude that planes cannot fly below when flying along the Salt and Verde River drainages. 

More information on the seasonal closures near recreational sites around Arizona by clicking the following link - http://bit.ly/LHCTaZ

Residents can help bald eagle research and recovery efforts by reporting any harassment or shooting of bald eagles, by calling  the Arizona Game and Fish Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-352-0700; or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Law Enforcement at (480) 967-7900.

Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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