Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus).
The Service's Chesapeake Bay Field Office in Annapolis,
Maryland, completed formal consultation with the Federal Highway
Administration (FHWA) for the replacement of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in accordance with section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This
federally owned bridge is part of the 1-95/495 interstate highway of
Capital Beltway linking Maryland and Virginia over the Potomac River.
The bridge serves to transport hundreds of thousands of local commuters
in the Washington metropolitan area to work each day, and it is an
essential transportation corridor for travelers and interstate commerce
between Maine and Florida. The Service has determined that land
clearing, use of haul roads, ferrying barges, and construction
activities for this $2.4 billion project will adversely affect a nesting
pair of bald eagles within the project action area. The FHWA initiated
consultation with the Service in September 1999 and a biological opinion
(BO) was rendered in April 2000. The FHWA's implementation of the
"reasonable and prudent measures" provided in the BO, in
concert with terms and conditions required by the Service after
consultation with the Army Corps of Engineers on an interrelated project
(National Harbor), allowed for the successful nesting and rearing of 10
young by this eagle pair over four consecutive years. The FHWA also
implemented a bald eagle conservation program designed to conserve
nesting and foraging habitat for these eagles by conveying 84 acres (34
ha) of shoreline and shallow-open water habitat.
The FHWA reinitiated consultation with the Service on December 19,
2002, to assess the impacts of the bridge project on bald eagles after
new information was obtained pertaining to nest relocation, increased
nest productivity, and design plan changes. The Service completed a
second and final BO in February 2003.