Frequently Asked Questions

What action is the state taking?

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved removing the bald eagle from the state list of threatened species on April 9, 2008. There is also a state rule to protect eagles (F.A.C. 68A-16.002). The new rule went into effect in May 2008. The bald eagle was removed from the federal list of endangered species in August 2007. FWC has also released a state Bald Eagle Management PlanAdobe PDF that outlines recommendations to help avoid violating state and federal laws. There are also federal National Bald Eagle Management Guidelines External Website available through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Since the eagle is no longer a listed species is it still being protected? If so, what are the state and federal laws protecting the bald eagle?

Yes, the eagle is still protected by both the FWC and the USFWS. The new Florida eagle rule is F.A.C. 68A-16.002. It outlines that it is illegal to disturb or take an eagle in Florida. For further information please review the state eagle ruleAdobe PDF.  There are two federal laws protecting eagles, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA). For more information about the federal laws please visit the USFWS bald eagle Web site External Website.

What is the current population status (both nationally and in Florida) of the bald eagle?

The current nesting population of the bald eagle in the lower 48 states is 9,789 pairs. Florida has 1,340 nesting territories (2008-2009 nesting season data). Florida is home to more nesting pairs than any other state, other than Alaska and Minnesota.

What has contributed to the recovery of the Florida eagle population?

The Florida bald eagle population and their nests have been protected through science-based land management, regulation, public education and law enforcement. Since the ban of the pesticide Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane (DDT) in 1972, Florida's eagle population has increased more than 300 percent over the last 24 years (or three generations of eagles).

Will the eagles in Florida still be monitored?

The documented nesting population of bald eagles in Florida will be monitored for the next 24 years in order to obtain the information needed to determine if the population continues to stabilize or increases over time. The FWC eagle nesting territory survey is conducted annually from November to March using fixed-wing aircraft. In 2009 the FWC re-designed the survey so we currently visit each nest once every three years.  By doing this we are able to focus on a sub-sample of nests (which statistically represent the entire state) and get complete information about productivity and nest status. This information is critical to ensure we are meeting the conservation objectives of the Bald Eagle Management Plan.

I found a new nest or I want to know the status of a nest. Where is that information?

If a new nest has been discovered, make sure it is an undocumented nest using the eagle nest locator Not a Mobile-Enabled Link and then follow the directions on the Web site to report a new nest.  If you have checked the Web site and still aren't sure, e-mail with the following information:  The county the nest is located in, the global positioning system (GPS) location or nearest address, direction, and distance to the nest and your complete contact information. We will be happy to check in our database to determine if the nest is new.

I have a project and I am not sure if it will affect eagles. What should I do now?

Go to the FWC eagle Web site for more information regarding whether or not the project will affect an eagle. There is a technical assistance page, general information, and links to the state and federal management plans.

I have followed the state management plan guidelines and the eagle abandoned its nest. Am I in violation of state rule?

No, you will not be in violation of the state eagle rule if you abide by the guidelines, whether a disturbance occurs or not. The guidelines are not law, but they are in place to help avoid potentially breaking the state eagle rule. The FWC will not seek to prosecute any individuals who follow the eagle management plan guidelines. The USFWS may require a permit if there is a potential to disturb or take a bald eagle. Please consult the USFWS bald eagle Web site External Website for further information.

I may need an eagle permit. What do I do now?

Go to the FWC eagle permitting Web site Not a Mobile-Enabled Link for more information regarding whether or not your project will affect an eagle and require a permit. A Regional Biologist or the FWC Eagle Plan Coordinator can assist you with interpreting the guidelines and determining whether or not an eagle permit is actually necessary.

Will previously issued state and federal permits still be honored?

Yes, under part 1.b. of F.A.C. 68A-16.002 Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), FWC permits issued under imperiled species regulations or Biological Opinions or permits issued by the USFWS under the Endangered Species Act will be honored.

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