FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 12, 2013
Media Contact: Carol Senechal
CITY OF NORFOLK IN VIOLATION OF STATE AND FEDERAL EAGLE PERMITS
Norfolk, Virginia – City Manager Marcus Jones was notified today that the City of Norfolk is in violation of its Bald Eagle Nest Removal Permit that called for the removal of nests at Norfolk Botanical Garden and allowed for harassment of the resident eagles that reside there. Meyer, Glitzenstein & Crystal, a Washington, D.C. firm that specializes in public interest law focusing on wildlife and environmental protection, has been retained by eagle advocacy group Eagle On Alliance to look into the issues and affirmed the permit violations to the City.
The City has now removed six eagles’ nests at Norfolk Botanical Garden which violates the permit issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on October 1, 2012. The permit allows for the removal and destruction of only three “active or inactive” nests and those nests must have been removed by November 9, 2012. The third nest was removed on December 18, 2012. The City has also removed nests on January 11, 2013, February 9, 2013 and March, 5, 2013. In addition, the City is in violation of the permit issued by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries issued on September 13, 2012.
The law firm’s letter states that “with the most recent removal of a sixth eagles’ nest on March 5, 2013 at the City’s Norfolk Botanical Garden, the City of Norfolk is now in flagrant violation of the permit that was issued by the Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) on October 1, 2012 under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (“Eagle Protection Act”), 16 U.S.C. § 668 et seq. Accordingly, we request that you immediately cease all further efforts to remove any more eagle nests at the Norfolk Botanical Garden (“NBG”). Having been put on written notice of these violations, any such further activities would constitute a “knowing” violation of the Act “with wanton disregard” for the consequences of such acts that would subject the City to both civil and criminal penalties under the statute.”
As a result of these violations, Eagle On Alliance (EOA) insists that the city immediately stop all efforts to remove the eagles from the Garden. EOA has repeatedly offered more humane solutions to the city regarding the bald eagles and airport safety as outlined in its press release issued on March 5, 2013. The City has stalled EOA’s efforts, most likely in hopes that a resolution could not be reached before the end of the eagles’ current nesting season.
For many months, EOA has asked the City to delay removal of nests and the harassment of these eagles until more research could be done into more viable solutions for the safety of both the airport and for the eagles. EOA’s requests have been ignored and the City is now in violation of the permits that it put in place to harass the eagles into leaving the Garden.
The FAA wildlife strike database confirms that there has only been one eagle strike tied to NBG in over 22 years. EOA has asked the City and the airport to concentrate their energy and their money on the airport’s major strike problems – geese, gulls and other flocking birds that cause the largest percentage of incidents at ORF and are the leading liability issue for the City where airport safety is concerned.
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