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.