Aerial surveys of potential outlying landing field sites for Bald Eagles and colonial waterbirds
Background: During an interagency meeting in March of 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) identified the potential for bald eagles and colonial nesting birds to occur within four sites currently proposed by the U.S. Navy as potential Outlying Landing Field (OLF) sites. The occurrence of bald eagles and colonial nesting birds at the proposed sites may require additional consideration during planning and evaluation of the potential effects from the construction and operation of an OLF. Because existing survey information is not comprehensive on these potential sites, the Navy decided to conduct surveys for these species at the proposed sites to aid in development of the Environmental Impact Statement. Because Bald Eagle and wading bird nest surveys must be completed in the late winter/early spring (February to early April), prior to when trees leaf out, it was recommend by the USFWS that these surveys be performed as soon as feasible. In order to allow for the consideration of results and the incorporation of findings into the draft Environmental Impact Statement, it was decided that the surveys should be conducted in the early spring of 2008. The objective of this project is to conduct aerial surveys for Bald Eagles and colonial nesting birds within four proposed OLF sites from late March through early April, 2008. The total area of the survey is approximately 130,000 acres (each of the four sites is approximately 32,000 acres).