Last fall, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) met with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the EagleWatch Program Manager Shawnlei Breeding to discuss upcoming changes to FWC’s Eagle Nest Locator and nest ID assignment services associated with changes to the eagle nest monitoring strategies for Florida.
The nesting Bald Eagle population in Florida is doing well and has met or exceeded statewide conservation goals for the last 20 years. As a result of exceeding the recovery goal and with the permitting responsibilities shifting back to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, FWC will be reducing their involvement with eagle monitoring in Florida. The FWC will be using EagleWatch and other partner collected data to inform the development of a long-term monitoring strategy for eagles. The FWC Eagle Nest Locator will be transitioned to a static map displaying historical data from FWC aerial surveys from 1998-2017.
EagleWatch will step into the role of providing nest information to stakeholders and will continue to maintain and update the nest map while assigning nest ID’s for new nests reported to EagleWatch and the FWC. FWC staff members have expressed their support for EagleWatch as we assume these functions for our program purposes and will promote the program to their other partners in need of these services.
EagleWatch will now be the only consistent, widespread nest monitoring effort in Florida, and as such plays an important role in protecting nests by documenting new or relocated nest locations each season. Importantly, long-term data on eagles will help us understand the ongoing impact of climate change on this iconic species. EagleWatch will continue to work at the intersection of these issues.