Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Since surveys began in 1978, Montana's bald eagle population has grown consistently, both in total number of pairs and number of young fledged. Threats to recovery include habitat loss from logging and development, loss of wetland and riparian habitat, water pollution, nesting failure caused by human disturbance at active nest sites, lead poisoning, the use of certain insect and predator poisons, and electrocution from powerlines.
The number of bald eagle nesting territories in Montana grew from 25 in 1980 to 108 in 1990, and the number of young fledged per year increased from 19 to 130. In 1991, 149 nesting sites were documented, out of which 87 pairs fledged a total of at least 153 young. Montana has an active bald eagle working group comprised of representatives from Federal and State agencies, universities, conservation groups, and private industry. The group advises in the recovery, research, management, inventory, and monitoring of the bald eagle and its habitat in Montana. Of the hundreds of section 7 consultations carried out since 1990, most have been informal and have resulted in slight (if any) project modifications while conserving eagles and their habitat. No jeopardy biological opinions have been issued, and no projects have been stopped.
Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and National Park Service: When possible, these Federal agencies assist with monitoring bald eagle nesting populations, conducting winter surveys, and protecting sites of eagle concentrations.
Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks: This is the primary State agency responsible for monitoring the nesting and wintering population status of the bald eagle. It provides technical assistance in managing bald eagle habitat in Montana.
Plum Creek Timber Company, Montana Power Company, Montana Audubon Council, Montana State University, University of Montana, Champion International Timber Company, Salish and Kootenai Tribes, and Kewit Mining Group: These organizations assist with monitoring bald eagle populations and facilitating research (e.g., fall habitat use and migration patterns) on bald eagles. These organizations assist by providing funding and allowing access to property, as well as providing comments on research and management priorities to the Fish and Wildlife Service and the State.
Plan approved 7/29/83.