Retired bald eagle researcher worries about national bird's future.

Research biologist Karen Steenhof retired last week after contributing to one of the nation’s great environmental success stories, the recovery of the bald eagle.

But Steenhof hopes success doesn’t make the nation lose its vigilance.The 2007 decision to remove eagles from the endangered species list has already reduced monitoring of the majestic birds nationwide. That’s why Steenhof looked at the decision with mixed feelings.

The woman who has long coordinated the national midwinter bald eagle count has watched as several states have dropped their monitoring programs. The federal government has not stepped in to fill those gaps.

Development or other threats could reverse the upward trend for bald eagles in some places and no one will know.

“We didn’t have a clear plan in place for monitoring and we still don’t,” Steenhof said.

Karen Steenhof

Thanks Rocky for doing a feature on Karen Steenhof. I hope Karen enjoys her retirement. She has been a very dedicated wildlife biologist. She has contributed significantly to many conservation projects related to bald eagles and other birds of prey. I have enjoyed several outings with Karen, cross-country skiing along the Boise River in the winter and counting eagles in the cottonwoods.

Now she can enjoy riding horseback in the Owyhee Mountains and explore the "big wide open" out there in the desert.

Best, Steve Stuebner