The Bureau of Land Management is closing several recreation areas to protect some species of birds of prey that are nesting.
Lisa Clark with the BLM says harassment by humans, unintentional or deliberate, is a leading cause of nest failure or abandonment.
People walking or riding near a nest or even being within view of an eagle on a nest can cause the adult bird to abandon the nest, leaving eggs to get cold or the young could starve.
The following areas now have seasonal closures in effect:
• BLM Beach on the south side of Lake Billy Chinook will be closed from Jan. 1 – Aug. 31 to protect nesting bald eagles. The BLM does not have alternate campsites in the area.
• Millican Plateau OHV Trail System (Route #95 only) –This route closed Jan. 1 – Aug. 31 to protect nesting bald eagles. There are numerous other routes in the area for out-and-back as well as loop rides.
• North Millican OHV Trail System (Route #25) – This route closed from Feb. 1 – Aug. 31 to protect nesting golden eagles. There are numerous other routes in the area.
• Trout Creek Trail (South side of the Trout Creek Trail only) - Visitors are required to stay on the Trout Creek Trail or between Trout Creek Trail and the Lower Deschutes River. This area is closed from Jan. 15 – Aug. 31 to protect nesting golden eagles. Climbers can use other climbing locations such as Rattlesnake, Skinners Butte or the Gorge at Smith Rocks.
• Cline Buttes Recreation Area (portions of the Deep Canyon, Fryrear, Maston, and Jaguar Road only) – are closed from Feb. 1 – Aug. 31 to protect nesting golden eagles. Alternative Trail Use Areas in Cline Buttes include Tumalo Canal Historic Area, the Buttes and the open portions of the areas listed above.
• Horny Hollow Trail near Crooked River Ranch is closed from Feb. 1 – Aug. 31 to protect nesting golden eagles. Alternate trail sites in the area include Otter Bench, Scout Camp, Folley Waters and Steelhead Falls.
• Dry River Canyon Trail on the southeast side of the Badlands is closed to protect nesting prairie falcons and golden eagles from Feb. 1 – Aug. 31. Alternate places in the area to recreate include Badlands Rock Trail, Flatiron Trail and the Horse Ridge Trail Complex.
Bald and golden eagles are protected by three Federal laws: The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Lacey Act. Coverage provided by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act also extends to prairie falcons.
• The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act protects bald and golden eagles by prohibiting the take, possession, sale, purchase, barter, offer to sell, transport, export or import, of any bald or golden eagle, alive or dead, including any part, nest, or egg, unless allowed by permit. Under this Act, “take" includes activities such as molesting or disturbing eagles, as well as more severe actions like killing or wounding them.
• The Lacey Act also protects bald eagles by making it a Federal offense to take, possess, transport, sell, import, or export their nests, eggs and parts that are taken in violation of any state, tribal or U.S. law.
• Migratory Bird Treaty Act is a Federal law that carries out the United States’ commitment to four international conventions with Canada, Japan, Mexico and Russia. Those conventions protect birds that migrate across international borders.
Violating the Prineville District closure orders can lead to a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment of not more than 12 months, or both. Convictions under the protection acts listed above can be much more severe. BLM will lift closures earlier if biologists determine a nest is not occupied or the young have left the nest.
More information about these closures as well as maps of closure areas can be found on the Alerts/Notices section of the Prineville BLM website; www.or.blm.gov/prineville
or by calling the Prineville BLM office at (541) 416-6700.