The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Feb. 9 that the final decision on whether to remove the bald eagle from the federal list of threatened and endangered species will be postponed. The service has reached a court-approved agreement allowing the agency to make a final determination on the eagle's status no later than June 29.
The additional four months will give the service time to complete additional analysis related to the final rule and put in place management guidelines and procedures that will make it easier for the public to understand ongoing Bald and Golden Eagle Act protections, ensuring that eagles continue to thrive once delisted.
The service had been under a court ordered deadline of Feb. 16 to make a final decision on the eagle's status. In January, the service approached the plaintiff in that case to request an extension of the deadline. With the agreement of the plaintiff, the service requested and the court approved the extension until June 29.
During the extension, the service expects to develop a proposed rule that would authorize incidental take of bald eagles under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. The service also intends to finalize voluntary bald eagle management guidelines and a regulatory definition of "disturb" under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
More information on the bald eagle can be found on the web at: http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/baldeagle.html