A Guide to the Bald & Golden Eagle Protection Act Permit Requirements, Process, and Compliance

The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA) Permit represents a critical regulatory mechanism for safeguarding two of America's most iconic bird species. This comprehensive guide dives deep into the intricacies of the BGEPA permit process, equipping readers with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate the complexities of eagle conservation in the context of large-scale development projects. From understanding the permit's role within the broader regulatory framework to leveraging cutting-edge technologies for compliance, this resource illuminates the path to successful project planning and execution while ensuring the protection of these majestic creatures. Readers will gain a thorough understanding of the permit's applicability, application requirements, and review process, as well as strategies for effective public engagement and proactive risk mitigation. With a strong emphasis on practical guidance and real-world examples, this guide serves as an indispensable companion for anyone seeking to harmonize development goals with the responsible stewardship of our nation's bald and golden eagle populations.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Bald & Golden Eagle Protection Act Permit Key Details

Issuing Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Year Established: 1940 Last Amended: 2016 Legal References:

  • Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act 1
  • Eagle Permits; Revisions to Regulations for Eagle Incidental Take and Take of Eagle Nests (50 C.F.R. 22) 2

Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act Permit Overview

The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA) permit operates within the broader framework of federal wildlife conservation laws. Originally passed in 1940, the BGEPA prohibits the "take, possession, sale, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, of any bald or golden eagle, alive or dead, including any part, nest, or egg, unless allowed by permit."1 The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is the primary agency responsible for administering and enforcing this permit program.

Amended several times over the decades, the BGEPA permit was significantly revised in 2009 to authorize the take of bald and golden eagles in certain circumstances, including when take is associated with otherwise lawful activities.3 The revised regulations also established a new permit for incidental take of eagles, extended the maximum permit duration, and set new standards for compensatory mitigation and monitoring. In 2016, the USFWS issued further revisions aimed at providing clarity and increasing compliance while maintaining strong eagle protection measures.4

Which Resources Are Regulated By BGEPA?

The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act permit specifically regulates bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) and golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos). The BGEPA prohibits the "take" of these eagles, which includes to "pursue, shoot, shoot at, poison, wound, kill, capture, trap, collect, destroy, molest, or disturb."1 The permit aims to protect bald and golden eagles from intentional and incidental harm or mortality caused by human activities, while allowing certain types of take when it cannot practicably be avoided and all permit conditions are met. This helps maintain stable or increasing breeding populations of these iconic bird species.

PROJECT APPLICABILITY & REQUIREMENTS

When Bald & Golden Eagle Protection Act Permits Are Required

The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA) prohibits the take, possession, sale, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, of any bald or golden eagle, alive or dead, including any part, nest, or egg, unless allowed by permit.5 Permits are required for activities that may disturb or otherwise harm bald or golden eagles, their nests, or their habitats. The following table outlines the types of activities that may trigger the need for a BGEPA permit and the associated environmental considerations:

Activity/ActionEnvironmental Considerations
Construction or development near eagle nests or habitatsPotential disturbance to nesting eagles, alteration of habitat, and increased human presence
Tree removal or logging in areas with eagle nests or habitatsDirect impacts on eagle nests and potential destruction of habitat
Energy infrastructure (e.g., wind turbines, power lines)Risk of eagle collisions with wind turbine blades or power lines, electrocution, and disturbance to nesting or foraging areas
Mining, oil, and gas exploration and developmentHabitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation; disturbance to nesting and foraging areas; potential for contamination of food sources
Recreation activities (e.g., hiking, camping, rock climbing)Human disturbance to nesting eagles, particularly during breeding season; potential for unintentional damage to nests or habitats
Scientific research or monitoring of eagle populationsPotential for disturbance to eagles during research activities, such as banding or telemetry; limited impact if proper protocols are followed
Native American religious or cultural use of eagle feathersMinimal impact if feathers are obtained through the National Eagle Repository; potential for illegal take if feathers are obtained outside of approved channels6

It is important to note that the need for a BGEPA permit is determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the specific details of the project and its potential impacts on bald or golden eagles. Consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is recommended to determine if a permit is required for a particular project.

Bald & Golden Eagle Protection Act Permit Exemptions

While the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA) prohibits the take, possession, sale, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, of any bald or golden eagle, there are certain activities that are exempt from the permit requirements. These exemptions are limited in scope and subject to specific conditions and limitations.

The following activities are exempt from BGEPA permit requirements:

  1. Possession of eagle parts and feathers for religious purposes by Native Americans: Members of federally recognized Native American tribes may possess eagle feathers and parts for religious or cultural purposes without a permit, provided the feathers and parts are obtained through the National Eagle Repository.7

  2. Possession of eagle parts and feathers acquired before the enactment of BGEPA: Individuals who possessed eagle parts or feathers prior to the enactment of BGEPA in 1940 may continue to possess these items without a permit, but they may not sell, trade, or barter them.8

  3. Take of golden eagle nests for resource development or recovery operations: Take of inactive golden eagle nests for resource development or recovery operations is exempt from permit requirements if the take is necessary to conduct the resource development or recovery operation, and there is no practicable alternative to the nest removal.9

To determine if a project qualifies for an exemption, developers should carefully review the specific conditions and limitations associated with each exemption and consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to confirm the applicability of an exemption to their project. In some cases, additional documentation or evidence may be required to demonstrate that a project meets the criteria for an exemption.

It is recommended that developers and environmental consultants engage with the USFWS early in the project planning process to discuss the applicability of any exemptions and to ensure compliance with BGEPA. If a project does not qualify for an exemption, the appropriate permits must be obtained before proceeding with any activities that may impact bald or golden eagles.

Eagle Scientific Collecting Permit

The Eagle Scientific Collecting Permit allows for the collection of bald or golden eagles, their parts, nests, or eggs for scientific or exhibition purposes.10 This permit is primarily intended for researchers, educational institutions, and museums that require eagle specimens for study or display.

Key requirements and considerations for the Eagle Scientific Collecting Permit include:

  • Applicants must demonstrate that the collection is necessary for scientific or exhibition purposes and that the proposed activities will not negatively impact eagle populations.
  • Permits are typically valid for a specific duration and may be subject to annual reporting requirements.
  • Permittees must follow strict protocols for the humane collection, handling, and preservation of eagle specimens.

Developers and environmental consultants should be aware of this permit type, as it may be relevant for projects that involve scientific research or monitoring of eagle populations. However, this permit is not typically required for most development projects unless there is a specific scientific or educational component.

Eagle Exhibition Permit

The Eagle Exhibition Permit allows for the possession and transportation of bald or golden eagles, their parts, nests, or eggs for educational or cultural purposes, such as in public displays or Native American religious ceremonies.11

Key requirements and considerations for the Eagle Exhibition Permit include:

  • Applicants must demonstrate that the proposed activities are for educational or cultural purposes and will not negatively impact eagle populations.
  • Permits are typically valid for a specific duration and may be subject to annual reporting requirements.
  • Permittees must provide suitable housing and care for live eagle specimens and ensure the secure storage of eagle parts and feathers.

This permit type is generally not applicable to most development projects, but developers and environmental consultants should be aware of its existence, particularly when working with Native American tribes or educational institutions that may possess eagle specimens for cultural or educational purposes.

Eagle Falconry Permit

The Eagle Falconry Permit allows for the possession and use of golden eagles for falconry purposes.12 This permit is specifically for master class falconers who wish to add a golden eagle to their falconry practice.

Key requirements and considerations for the Eagle Falconry Permit include:

  • Applicants must be master class falconers and demonstrate their experience and expertise in handling raptors.
  • Permits are valid for a specific duration and are subject to annual reporting requirements.
  • Permittees must provide suitable housing and care for their golden eagle(s) and ensure compliance with all falconry regulations.

The Eagle Falconry Permit is not typically relevant for development projects or environmental consulting work, as it pertains to a specific recreational activity. However, it is important to be aware of this permit type when considering the overall regulatory framework for eagle protection and management.

Eagle Depredation Permit

The Eagle Depredation Permit allows for the intentional take of bald or golden eagles that are causing serious damage to livestock, agricultural crops, or other interests.13 This permit is intended as a last resort when other non-lethal methods of deterrence have failed.

Key requirements and considerations for the Eagle Depredation Permit include:

  • Applicants must demonstrate that eagles are causing serious damage and that non-lethal methods of deterrence have been attempted without success.
  • Permits are typically valid for a specific duration and are subject to annual reporting requirements.
  • Permittees must follow specific protocols for the humane take of eagles and the disposition of eagle carcasses.

Developers and environmental consultants should be aware of this permit type, as it may be relevant in situations where eagles are causing damage to project infrastructure or negatively impacting agricultural operations associated with a project. However, the Eagle Depredation Permit is rarely issued and should only be considered as a last resort after exploring all other options for mitigating eagle-related damage.

Eagle Incidental Take Permit

The Eagle Incidental Take Permit allows for the unintentional disturbance, injury, or killing of bald or golden eagles as a result of otherwise lawful activities, such as construction, energy development, or resource extraction.14 This permit is the most relevant for developers and environmental consultants involved in large-scale greenfield development projects.

Key requirements and considerations for the Eagle Incidental Take Permit include:

  • Applicants must demonstrate that the proposed activities are likely to result in the incidental take of eagles and that all practicable measures to avoid and minimize impacts have been incorporated into the project design.
  • Permits are typically valid for a specific duration (up to 30 years) and are subject to annual reporting requirements and adaptive management strategies.15

Developers and environmental consultants should carefully consider the potential for incidental take of eagles when planning and designing projects, particularly those involving construction, energy development, or resource extraction in areas with known eagle populations. Early consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) can help streamline the permitting process and ensure compliance with the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA).

PERMIT APPLICATION & PROCESS

BGEPA Permit Permit Pre-Application Considerations & Planning

Diagram of BGEPA Permit Permit Pre-Application Considerations & Planning
Diagram of BGEPA Permit Permit Pre-Application Considerations & Planning

The BGEPA Permit permit process typically begins during the early stages of project planning and feasibility assessment. Project proponents should determine whether their proposed activities may impact bald or golden eagles and, if so, initiate pre-application consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to discuss the project, potential impacts, and mitigation strategies.16

Following pre-application consultation, the project proponent conducts necessary surveys and studies to assess eagle presence, behavior, and potential project impacts. These studies inform the development of the permit application, which must include detailed information about the project, anticipated eagle impacts, and proposed conservation measures.17

Once the application is submitted, the USFWS reviews the materials and makes a permit decision based on whether the project meets regulatory criteria. If the permit is approved, the project proponent must comply with all permit conditions, monitoring, and reporting requirements throughout the life of the project.18

The BGEPA Permit permit process can significantly influence project timelines and key decisions:

  1. Project Conception (Month 0)
  2. Feasibility & Site Selection (Months 1-3)
  3. Pre-Application Consultation (Months 3-6)
  4. Surveys & Studies (Months 6-12)
  5. Permit Application Preparation & Submission (Months 12-15)
  6. USFWS Review & Decision (Months 15-18)
  7. Permit Issuance & Compliance (Month 18+)

BGEPA Permit Application Requirements & Submission

A complete BGEPA Permit permit application must include several key components that demonstrate to the USFWS that the project meets regulatory criteria for permit issuance. Required materials typically include:

  1. Application Form: A completed USFWS Form 3-200-71 for incidental take permits or Form 3-200-72 for nest removal permits.

  2. Project Description: Detailed information about the proposed project, including location, duration, activities, and potential impacts on eagles.

  3. Eagle Conservation Plan (ECP): A comprehensive document that outlines the project's potential risks to eagles, proposed avoidance and minimization measures, compensatory mitigation, and post-construction monitoring plans.

  4. Monitoring & Reporting Protocols: Description of how the project will monitor eagle impacts and comply with reporting requirements.

  5. Compensatory Mitigation Plan: If required, a plan detailing how the project will offset unavoidable eagle impacts, such as through habitat conservation or restoration.

  6. Permit Fees: Payment of the appropriate permit application processing fees.

The ECP is the centerpiece of the application, demonstrating that the project has taken all practicable steps to avoid, minimize, and mitigate adverse effects on eagles. It must be prepared in accordance with USFWS guidance.19

The BGEPA Permit Review & Decision Process

Project proponents should initiate the BGEPA Permit permit process as early as possible in the project lifecycle, ideally during the feasibility and site selection phase. Early engagement with the USFWS allows for more effective impact avoidance and minimization planning.20

The key steps in the BGEPA Permit permit review and decision process are:

  1. Pre-Application Consultation: The project proponent meets with USFWS staff to discuss the project, identify potential impacts, and outline the permit application requirements.

  2. Application Submission: The proponent prepares and submits a complete permit application package, including all required forms, fees, and supporting documents.

  3. Completeness Review: The USFWS reviews the application for completeness and may request additional information if needed. This review typically takes 30-60 days.21

  4. Technical Review: Once the application is deemed complete, the USFWS conducts a thorough technical review to evaluate the project's impacts, conservation measures, and consistency with permit issuance criteria. This review may take several months, depending on the complexity of the project.22

  5. NEPA Review: The USFWS must comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) before issuing a permit. Depending on the project's impacts, an Environmental Assessment (EA) or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) may be required, which can extend the review timeline.23

  6. Permit Decision: Based on its technical and NEPA reviews, the USFWS decides whether to issue the permit. If approved, the permit will include specific conditions, mitigation requirements, and monitoring and reporting obligations that the project must follow.24

The USFWS strives to make permit decisions within 90 days of receiving a complete application, but complex projects or those requiring an EIS may take significantly longer. Effective pre-application consultation and high-quality application materials can help expedite the review process.25

BGEPA Permit Public Participation & Stakeholder Engagement

Public participation is an essential component of the BGEPA Permit permitting process, providing valuable input and oversight to ensure that permitted projects are consistent with the public community's goal of eagle conservation.

The USFWS solicits public comments at several key points during the permit review process:

  1. NEPA Scoping: If the project requires an EA or EIS under NEPA, the USFWS will publish a Notice of Intent (NOI) in the Federal Register and invite public comments to help define the scope and significant issues to be analyzed in the NEPA document.

  2. Draft NEPA Document Review: The draft EA or EIS is made available for public review and comment, typically for a period of 30-60 days. The USFWS will consider all substantive comments received and respond to them in the final NEPA document.

  3. Permit Notice: Before issuing a permit, the USFWS will publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing the receipt of the permit application and inviting public comments, typically for a 30-day period.

Public input can take the form of written comments, public hearing testimony, or other means as specified in the relevant notices. The USFWS must consider all substantive comments and address them in its final permit decision and supporting documents.26

Robust public participation helps ensure that the USFWS has the information needed to make informed permit decisions and that projects are designed and implemented in a manner that is consistent with the public interest. Project proponents are encouraged to engage proactively with stakeholders and local communities to build support and identify and address concerns early in the permit process.27

Common Challenges and Pitfalls in the BGEPA Permit Permit Process

Project proponents may encounter several common challenges during the BGEPA Permit permit process that can delay or complicate permit issuance, including:

  1. Incomplete or inadequate application materials: Submitting an incomplete or poorly prepared application can result in delays as the USFWS requests additional information or clarification. Ensure that all required forms, fees, and supporting documents are included and that the application is thoroughly reviewed before submission.28

  2. Insufficient pre-application consultation: Failing to engage in meaningful pre-application consultation with the USFWS can lead to misunderstandings about permit requirements, unrealistic project designs, or avoidable impacts. Initiate consultation early and communicate openly with the USFWS throughout the process.29

  3. Inadequate surveys or impact analysis: Permit applications must be supported by scientifically rigorous surveys and impact assessments. Cutting corners or relying on outdated or incomplete data can undermine the credibility of the application and lead to requests for additional studies, delaying the process.30

  4. Failure to consider alternatives: The USFWS will scrutinize whether the project has considered all practicable alternatives to avoid, minimize, and mitigate eagle impacts. Neglecting to fully explore and document alternative approaches can weaken the application and result in denial or requests for revisions.31

  5. Underestimating the time and cost of the permit process: The BGEPA Permit permit process can be lengthy and expensive, particularly for complex projects. Build sufficient time and budget into project plans to account for pre-application consultation, studies, application preparation, NEPA review, and potential delays.32

To avoid these pitfalls, project proponents should:

  • Engage early and often with the USFWS and other stakeholders
  • Invest in high-quality, scientifically defensible surveys and impact assessments
  • Follow USFWS guidance and best practices for preparing application materials
  • Consider all practicable alternatives to avoid, minimize, and mitigate impacts
  • Allow ample time and budget for the permit process in project planning
  • Be responsive to USFWS information requests and public comments

By proactively addressing these common challenges, project proponents can help ensure a smoother and more efficient BGEPA Permit permit process.

TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS FOR PERMIT COMPLIANCE

Leveraging Technology for Bald & Golden Eagle Protection Act Permit Compliance

Technology plays a crucial role in streamlining and enhancing compliance with the Bald & Golden Eagle Protection Act permit. Data management, site assessment, and monitoring tools can significantly improve efficiency, accuracy, and transparency throughout the permit compliance process.

Benefits of using technology for permit compliance include:

  • Automated data collection and analysis
  • Real-time monitoring and alerts
  • Improved data accuracy and consistency
  • Enhanced collaboration and communication among stakeholders
  • Increased transparency and accountability
  • Reduced costs and time associated with manual processes

Common tools and platforms used in the industry for permit compliance include:

Tool/PlatformDescriptionBenefits
Geographic Information Systems (GIS)Mapping and spatial analysis softwareEnables site assessment, habitat mapping, and impact analysis
Remote SensingSatellite imagery and aerial photographyProvides high-resolution data for site monitoring and change detection
Environmental Database Management Systems (EDMS)Software for storing, managing, and analyzing environmental dataFacilitates data organization, reporting, and decision-making
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)Drones equipped with cameras and sensorsAllows for efficient site surveys, monitoring, and inspection
Acoustic Monitoring SystemsDevices that record and analyze bird calls and vocalizationsHelps detect and identify eagle presence and activity

By leveraging these technologies, developers and permit applicants can more effectively assess project sites, monitor compliance, and mitigate potential impacts on bald and golden eagles, ultimately ensuring successful permit compliance and conservation efforts.

Transect: An Innovative Solution for Site Selection & Environmental Due Diligence

Transect is an all-in-one environmental due diligence solution that combines software knowledge with hands-on field experience to revolutionize site selection and permitting for industries such as solar, wind, renewable energy, and more. This innovative platform offers a range of key features and benefits that streamline the site selection and permitting processes, reduce costs and delays, and ensure ongoing compliance with Bald & Golden Eagle Protection Act permit requirements.

Key features and benefits of Transect include:

  1. Swift site pinpointing and suitability analysis: Transect enables developers to quickly identify potential project sites and assess their suitability based on environmental, regulatory, and technical criteria.

  2. Real-time data updates and critical issues identification: The platform provides access to up-to-date information on environmental constraints, regulatory requirements, and potential impacts, allowing developers to make informed decisions and proactively address critical issues.

  3. Versatility across multiple industries and project types: Transect is designed to support a wide range of industries and project types, from renewable energy to infrastructure development, ensuring broad applicability and value.

  4. User-friendly interface and intuitive workflow: The platform offers a user-friendly interface and intuitive workflow, making it easy for developers and permit applicants to navigate the site selection and permitting processes.

  5. Efficiency gains and cost savings: By automating data collection, analysis, and reporting tasks, Transect helps developers save time and reduce costs compared to traditional, manual methods.

  6. Proactive risk mitigation and compliance assurance: Transect's comprehensive environmental due diligence capabilities enable developers to identify and mitigate potential risks early in the project lifecycle, ensuring ongoing compliance with Bald & Golden Eagle Protection Act permit requirements.

By leveraging Transect's unique capabilities, developers and permit applicants can more effectively navigate the complexities of site selection and permitting, minimize project delays and costs, and ensure the long-term success and compliance of their projects with respect to the Bald & Golden Eagle Protection Act permit.

POST-PERMIT COMPLIANCE & MANAGEMENT

BGEPA Permit Conditions & Compliance Obligations

BGEPA permits typically come with a variety of conditions and requirements that the permit holder must adhere to in order to maintain compliance. These may include impact minimization measures, such as using non-lethal deterrents to discourage eagles from approaching wind turbines or other hazardous structures.33 Permits may also require the implementation of best management practices.

In addition to impact minimization, BGEPA permits often include mitigation commitments, which are actions taken to offset the unavoidable impacts of the permitted activity on eagles. Mitigation may involve habitat restoration, nest site protection, or contributions to eagle conservation programs. Permit holders are typically required to submit regular reports detailing their compliance with these mitigation commitments.

Other common permit conditions include reporting obligations, such as notifying the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) of any eagle injuries or mortalities within a specified timeframe.34 Permit holders must also keep accurate records of their activities and make these records available for inspection by the USFWS upon request.

Understanding and adhering to these permit conditions is crucial for maintaining compliance with the BGEPA. Failure to comply with permit conditions can result in penalties, fines, or even permit revocation. It is the responsibility of the permit holder to ensure that all employees, contractors, and subcontractors are aware of and follow the permit conditions.35

BGEPA Monitoring, Reporting & Recordkeeping Requirements

BGEPA permits typically include ongoing monitoring, reporting, and recordkeeping requirements to ensure that the permit holder is complying with the permit conditions and minimizing impacts to eagles. The specific requirements vary depending on the type of activity and the level of risk to eagles, but generally include the following:

  1. Monitoring: Permit holders may be required to conduct regular site inspections and surveys to monitor eagle activity and identify potential hazards.36

  2. Reporting: Permit holders must submit regular reports to the USFWS detailing their activities and compliance with permit conditions. The frequency of reporting varies but is typically annual or semi-annual.37

  3. Recordkeeping: Permit holders must maintain accurate records of their activities, including data from monitoring efforts, incident reports, and mitigation actions. These records must be retained for a specified period, usually at least five years, and made available for inspection by the USFWS upon request.38

Accurate and timely reporting and recordkeeping are essential for demonstrating compliance with BGEPA permit conditions. Failure to submit required reports or maintain adequate records can result in enforcement action, including penalties or permit revocation. Permit holders should establish clear protocols for data collection, management, and retention to ensure that they meet their reporting and recordkeeping obligations.39

Enforcement and Penalties for Non-Compliance with BGEPA

Non-compliance with BGEPA permit conditions can result in a range of enforcement actions and penalties, depending on the severity and nature of the violation. The USFWS is responsible for enforcing the BGEPA and may take the following actions in response to violations:

  1. Administrative penalties: The USFWS may issue written warnings, notices of violation, or compliance orders requiring the permit holder to take corrective action. They may also assess civil penalties of up to $5,000 per violation, with each day of a continuing violation constituting a separate offense.40

  2. Civil fines: For more serious violations, the USFWS may seek civil fines through the federal court system. The maximum fine for a civil violation of the BGEPA is $25,000 per violation, with each day of a continuing violation constituting a separate offense.41

  3. Criminal charges: Knowing violations of the BGEPA, such as intentionally killing or wounding an eagle, can result in criminal charges. A criminal conviction under the BGEPA can result in fines of up to $250,000 for individuals or $500,000 for organizations, as well as up to two years in prison.42

  4. Permit revocation: In cases of severe or repeated non-compliance, the USFWS may revoke the BGEPA permit, effectively halting the permitted activity. Permit revocation can have significant economic consequences for the permit holder and may damage their reputation and ability to obtain future permits.43

Common violations of BGEPA permits include failure to implement required impact minimization measures, failure to report eagle injuries or mortalities, and failure to maintain accurate records. Permit holders should take prompt corrective action and communicate openly with the USFWS if a violation occurs to mitigate enforcement risks. Establishing a strong culture of compliance and providing regular training to employees and contractors can help prevent violations and ensure the long-term success of the permitted activity.44

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES & UPDATES

Recent Changes & Updates to Bald & Golden Eagle Protection Act Permit

The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA) has undergone several notable changes in recent years:

  1. Eagle Rule Revision (2016): In December 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) issued a final rule revising the regulations for permits for incidental take of bald and golden eagles.45 The revised rule extended the maximum duration of programmatic permits from 5 to 30 years, subject to 5-year reviews.46 It also updated mitigation requirements, application procedures, and fees.47

  2. Incidental Take Permit Program (2009): In 2009, the USFWS established a new permit program under the BGEPA to authorize the take of bald and golden eagles when the take is associated with, but not the purpose of, an otherwise lawful activity.48 This program provides a mechanism for protecting eagle populations while accommodating renewable energy development and other activities that may impact eagles.49

  3. Eagle Management Unit (EMU) Approach (2016): As part of the 2016 Eagle Rule Revision, the USFWS introduced the EMU approach to manage eagle populations.50 The EMUs are based on the geographic distribution of eagle populations and consider factors such as migration patterns, breeding areas, and prey availability.51 This approach allows for more targeted management and conservation efforts.52

These changes have sought to balance the protection of bald and golden eagles with the need for responsible development and other activities that may affect these species. Developers and project proponents should stay informed of any further updates to the BGEPA regulations to ensure compliance with the most current requirements.

Additional Resources & Information

These resources provide valuable information for developers, consultants, and other stakeholders seeking to understand and comply with the BGEPA and its associated permit requirements.

REFERENCES

  1. Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act 2 3

  2. 50 C.F.R. 22 - Eagle Permits

  3. 74 Fed. Reg. 46836 (Sept. 11, 2009) - Eagle Permits; Take Necessary To Protect Interests in Particular Localities

  4. 81 Fed. Reg. 91494 (Dec. 16, 2016) - Eagle Permits; Revisions to Regulations for Eagle Incidental Take and Take of Eagle Nests

  5. 16 U.S.C. § 668(a)

  6. 50 C.F.R. § 22.22

  7. 50 C.F.R. § 22.22(a)(1)

  8. 50 C.F.R. § 22.2

  9. 50 C.F.R. § 22.25

  10. 50 C.F.R. § 22.21

  11. 50 C.F.R. § 22.23

  12. 50 C.F.R. § 22.24

  13. 50 C.F.R. § 22.26

  14. 50 C.F.R. § 22.26

  15. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "Eagle Permits; Incidental Take." Federal Register, vol. 81, no. 242, 16 Dec. 2016, pp. 91494-91554. www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/12/16/2016-29908/eagle-permits-incidental-take

  16. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "Eagle Permits."

  17. 50 C.F.R. § 22.26(a) (2021).

  18. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act."

  19. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance."

  20. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "Eagle Permits."

  21. 50 C.F.R. § 13.11(c) (2021).

  22. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "Eagle Permits: Technical Review."

  23. 42 U.S.C. § 4332(2)(C) (2021).

  24. 50 C.F.R. § 22.26(c)(7) (2021).

  25. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "Eagle Permits: Processing Time."

  26. 50 C.F.R. § 22.26(d)(2) (2021).

  27. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance."

  28. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "Eagle Permits: Common Issues."

  29. 50 C.F.R. § 22.26(c)(1) (2021).

  30. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance."

  31. 50 C.F.R. § 22.26(e) (2021).

  32. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "Eagle Permits: Frequently Asked Questions."

  33. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (2016). Eagle Permits; Revisions to Regulations for Eagle Incidental Take and Take of Eagle Nests. 81 Fed. Reg. 91494. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/12/16/2016-29908/eagle-permits-revisions-to-regulations-for-eagle-incidental-take-and-take-of-eagle-nests

  34. 50 C.F.R. § 22.26(c)(7) (2022). https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-50/chapter-I/subchapter-B/part-22/subpart-C/section-22.26

  35. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (2013). Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance: Module 1 - Land-based Wind Energy, Version 2. https://www.fws.gov/sites/default/files/documents/eagle-conservation-plan-guidance.pdf

  36. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (2013). Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance: Module 1 - Land-based Wind Energy, Version 2. https://www.fws.gov/sites/default/files/documents/eagle-conservation-plan-guidance.pdf

  37. 50 C.F.R. § 22.26(c)(8) (2022). https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-50/chapter-I/subchapter-B/part-22/subpart-C/section-22.26

  38. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (2013). Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance: Module 1 - Land-based Wind Energy, Version 2. https://www.fws.gov/sites/default/files/documents/eagle-conservation-plan-guidance.pdf

  39. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (2016). Eagle Permits; Revisions to Regulations for Eagle Incidental Take and Take of Eagle Nests. 81 Fed. Reg. 91494. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/12/16/2016-29908/eagle-permits-revisions-to-regulations-for-eagle-incidental-take-and-take-of-eagle-nests

  40. 16 U.S.C. § 668(b) (2022). https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/16/668

  41. 16 U.S.C. § 668(b) (2022). https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/16/668

  42. 16 U.S.C. § 668(a) (2022). https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/16/668

  43. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (2016). Eagle Permits; Revisions to Regulations for Eagle Incidental Take and Take of Eagle Nests. 81 Fed. Reg. 91494. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/12/16/2016-29908/eagle-permits-revisions-to-regulations-for-eagle-incidental-take-and-take-of-eagle-nests

  44. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (2013). Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance: Module 1 - Land-based Wind Energy, Version 2. https://www.fws.gov/sites/default/files/documents/eagle-conservation-plan-guidance.pdf

  45. Eagle Permits; Revisions to Regulations for Eagle Incidental Take and Take of Eagle Nests, 81 Fed. Reg. 91494 (Dec. 16, 2016).

  46. Id. at 91495.

  47. Id. at 91504-91513.

  48. Eagle Permits; Take Necessary To Protect Interests in Particular Localities, 74 Fed. Reg. 46836 (Sept. 11, 2009).

  49. Id. at 46838.

  50. Eagle Permits; Revisions to Regulations for Eagle Incidental Take and Take of Eagle Nests, 81 Fed. Reg. 91494, 91497 (Dec. 16, 2016).

  51. Id.

  52. Id.

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A Note to Our Readers: We hope this guide is a valuable resource in helping you better understand the BGEPA Permit. However, it's not a substitute for professional advice and doesn't cover every scenario. Always consult with regulatory bodies and professionals for the most current advice and project-specific guidance.