Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor

This letter is an appeal to the residents of this state to rise to the task of preventing an unfortunate, and disgraceful assault on some new residents of our state: the bald eagle.

The first time I was privileged enough to see these magnificent birds was early in the summer of 1998. My wife and son and I were on an outing on Lake James, fishing the coves and watching for wildlife as we have done for years. When I first saw the eagle fly from the forest and across the cove, I couldn’t believe my eyes. We were so excited, we forgot about fishing and took to bird watching for the rest of the afternoon.

The unfortunate point of this story is that the birds chose to nest in a planned subdivision that was being created by Crescent Resources, a subsidiary of Duke Energy. By the next spring when the birds returned, a road had been created within a short distance of the tree.

Other sportsmen and I knew these birds were going to be driven from their home because of the construction and other traffic. We knew the pair had no chance of raising young that year, but we felt that to call attention to this situation might improve their future.

So far our efforts have been unsuccessful. Crescent has sold the lot containing the nest and another lot next to the nest. Construction has started on one lot, and each year the birds have been driven from the nest because of lack of protection. These birds are supposedly protected under the Endangered Species Act. This is supposed to apply to the nest and the area around it.

The eagles at Lake James are the first documented nesting pair this far inland in North Carolina in over 40 years. Even though these birds are rare and have laws to protect them, there are those who feel they are in the way and simply have to go.

Crescent has recently filed for a special permit to take the nest; they want to be exempt from the Endangered Species Act on lands around the lake for the next 50 years. In return, they claim they will build platforms in trees at some proposed sites that the birds may come to. This plan is not only ridiculous, it is a downright disgrace. There are those who feel it is a classic case of a money-grubbing corporation wanting to cross all legal boundaries just to flex their corporate muscle.

Duke Energy and Crescent could do the right thing. They could give the new owners their money back, or possibly another lot, and set aside the land around the nest as a protected site.

Paul M. Braun,
Morganton, NC


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