On April 20th, 2017, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved revisions to the state’s bald eagle rule (68A-16.002, F.A.C.). The approved rule revisions will eliminate the need for applicants to obtain both a state and federal permit for activities with the potential to take or disturb bald eagles or their nests. Under the approved revisions, only a federal permit is required. The rule revisions are anticipated to become effective in May, 2017. For permitting guidance, please see FWC’s eagle permit webpage.
The bald eagle, our national bird and a symbol of the United States, is a conservation success story. Today, Florida, has one of the densest concentrations of nesting bald eagles in the lower 48 states. While no longer listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act or the Florida Endangered and Threatened Species rules, bald eagles remain protected by both the state eagle rule (68A-16.002, F.A.C.) and federal law.
FWC staff is currently developing a Species Action Plan for the bald eagle. This plan will replace the 2008 Bald Eagle Management Plan. A non-regulatory conservation plan, the Species Action Plan will outline actions necessary to continue to maintain a stable or increasing population of bald eagles in Florida, in perpetuity. To be included in updates or provide feedback on the plan, please email Eagle_Plan@MyFWC.com. A draft of the plan is expected to be available for public review in June, 2017.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife removed the bald eagle from the federal endangered and threatened species list in 2007. The USFWS continues to manage eagles under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. To learn more, visit the USFWS eagle website.
Additional Links of Interest:
Locate an Eagle Nest Territory: Includes an interactive map, address search, export functions, and printable maps. New or undocumented nests may be reported to BaldEagle@MyFWC.com.
Federal Guidelines for Activities near Nesting Bald Eagles: A self-guided key that allows you to determine if activities are likely to disturb eagles and whether a federal permit is needed. Federal permits are always required for removal of a bald eagle nest.
FWC Eagle Nest Monitoring Reports: FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute surveys bald eagle nesting territories in Florida. Data collected are used to determine the statewide breeding population size and trends. The data is available in annual reports and in an FWRI published paper, Status of the bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) breeding population in Florida, 2009-2014.
Volunteer your time to help monitor eagles: Audubon of Florida’s Eagle Watch program is a volunteer citizen-science group that conducts annual nest monitoring. Call 407-644-0190 or e-mail email@example.com if you would like to participate.