A legislative committee today will review plans to take two once-threatened birds off the state’s endangered species list.
The Legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee must sign off on a proposal to reclassify the bald eagle and the peregrine falcon as "birds of special concern," but no longer endangered.
Department of Natural Resources biologist Stephanie Shepherd says the two species will still get plenty of protection.
"You know, you can’t bother their nest. You can’t cut down bald eagle nesting trees. You still can’t do any of that stuff," Shepherd says. "So we still feel they are going to have plenty of protection."
By the 1970s, there were few if any bald eagles and peregrin falcons in Iowa, but efforts to help the birds nest in certain areas — even on tall buildings in urban settings — have been successful. Shepherd says wildlife experts will continue to keep close watch.
"Both of these birds are also greatly protected under federal laws as well, so they do have a lot of protection from being harassed or injured or having anybody do anything harmful to them," she says.
State penalties for harming bald eagles or peregrin falcons will be lowered if the Administrative Rules Review Committee endorses the move to classify the birds as species of "special concern" rather than protected species.