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Development and Maintenance of a Great Lakes Bald Eagle Database to Provide Support in Governmental Efforts to Protect the Great Lakes

Year Awarded: 1996
Awarded: $57,000
Team Leader:  Lake Superior State University

This team developed a standardized, relational database of bald eagle data from federal, state and provincial sources. The project built on a Fund-supported project to develop a protocol for use of the bald eagle as an ecosystem monitor of Great Lakes water quality. It also served as a response to actions by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in 1998 to rescind the Northern State Bald Eagle Recovery Plan, and in response to attempts to delist the bald eagle from threatened species list.

The team collected data on bald eagle nesting in the Great Lakes basin over two decades, as well as all toxicological data available for the species. Team members modified data from the Michigan Natural Features Inventory and Voyageurs National Park in order to apply it across the Great Lakes basin. There is scientific consensus that the health of bald eagles is an excellent indicator of ecosystem health and water quality in the Great Lakes basin. The results of this team’s work allows managers to make better-informed decisions about habitat protection, toxic chemical regulations, and control and remediation of existing chemicals.