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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.
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Title Annotation:Region 5
Publication:Endangered Species Update
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jul 1, 2003
Words:287
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