Help Protect Arizona Bald Eagles, Respect Closed Areas

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PHOENIX -- It’s time again for Arizona’s bald eagles to begin their breeding activities, and outdoor recreationists are asked to help protect important breeding areas by honoring the closure of 21 areas across the state.

Various land and wildlife management agencies close the breeding areas for part of the year, beginning in December, to protect the state’s 48 breeding pairs of bald eagles. Some of the closure areas are located near popular recreation sites.

“Even though the bald eagle is doing well in Arizona, they still require the public’s help to reproduce successfully and flourish in the state,” says Kenneth Jacobson, head of the Arizona Game and Fish Department Bald Eagle Management Program.

“Human activity near active bald eagle nests can cause a breeding pair to leave its eggs uncovered, leading to a failed breeding attempt. It can take only 30 minutes for a breeding attempt to fail.”

The bald eagle was federally listed as an endangered species in 1978. Nationally, the birds recovered enough to be removed from the list last year, but they remain listed as an endangered species in Arizona.

In December, Arizona bald eagles begin rebuilding nests in preparation for laying eggs. During this time, land and wildlife management agencies enact the seasonal breeding area closures. Bald eagles nest, forage and roost at the rivers and lakes that have become some of Arizona’s most popular recreation spots, and this time of year can be challenging for the birds.

However, Jacobson says, “With the public’s help and cooperation, we can all take responsibility for ensuring that Arizona bald eagles breed successfully.”

SEASONAL CLOSURES

Alamo Lake — A portion of upper Alamo Lake may be closed to boats from Jan. 1 to June 30. Contact the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Region IV, Yuma, (928) 342-0091.

Lake Pleasant — No vehicle, watercraft, or foot entry is allowed into the Lower Agua Fria Arm from Dec. 15 to June 15. Contact Maricopa County Parks and Recreation, (928) 501-1710.

Verde River — below Sycamore Canyon Wilderness is closed to foot and vehicle entry from Dec. 1 to June 15. Floating through is allowed. Contact Coconino National Forest, Sedona Ranger District, (928) 282-4119.

Verde River near Chasm Creek is closed to foot and vehicle entry from Dec. 1 to June 15. Floating through is allowed. Contact Prescott National Forest, Verde Ranger District, (928) 567-4121.

Verde River upstream of the East Verde confluence is closed to vehicle and foot entry from Dec. 1 to June 30. Floating through is allowed, but no stopping in the river or landing is permitted. Verde River near Mule Shoe Bend, allows watercraft to float through but no stopping in the river or landing is allowed from Dec. 1 to June 30.

Verde River below Horseshoe Dam may be closed to vehicle or foot entry on the southwest side of the river from Dec. 1 to June 30. Floating through is allowed, but no stopping in the river or landing on the southwest side of the river is allowed.

Verde River below Bartlett Dam is closed to foot or vehicle entry from Dec. 1 to June 30. Floating through is allowed.

Verde River at the Needle Rock Recreation area is closed to foot and vehicle entry on the east side of the river from Dec. 1 to June 30. Floating through is allowed, but no stopping in the river or landing on east side of river is allowed. Contact Tonto National Forest, Cave Creek Ranger District, (480) 595-3300.

Tonto Creek — from Gisela to 76 Ranch is closed to vehicle, foot entry, and floating through from Dec. 1 to June 30. Tonto Creek inlet to Roosevelt Lake is closed to vehicle and foot entry within 1,000 feet of the nest on land, and to watercraft within 300 feet on water from Dec. 1 to June 30. Contact Tonto National Forest, Tonto Basin Ranger District (928) 467-3200.

Salt River from Horseshoe Bend to Redmond Flat allows watercraft to float through, but no stopping in the river or landing is allowed from Dec. 1 to June 30. Contact Tonto National Forest, Globe Ranger District, (928) 402-6200.

Salt River near Meddler Point is closed to vehicle and foot entry within 1000 feet of the nest on land, and to watercraft within 300 feet on water from Dec. 1 to June 30. Contact Tonto National Forest, Tonto Basin Ranger District (928) 467-3200.

Salt River below Stewart Mountain Dam, is closed to vehicle or foot entry on the south side of the river from Dec. 1 to June 30. Floating through is allowed. Contact the Tonto National Forest, Mesa Ranger District, (480) 610-3300.

Woods Canyon Lake — A portion of the lake may be closed to watercraft and a portion of the shoreline may be closed to foot entry from April 1 through Aug. 31. Contact the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest, Black Mesa Ranger District, (928) 535-7300.

Lower Lake Mary — There is no vehicle or foot traffic allowed on a portion of the north side of the lake from Jan. 1 to Aug. 30. Contact the Coconino National Forest, Mormon Lake Ranger District, (928) 774-1147.

Becker Lake — A portion of the lake may be closed to watercraft and a portion of the shoreline may be closed to foot entry from Feb. 1 through June 30. Contact the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Region I, Pinetop, (928) 367-4281.

Luna Lake — is closed to vehicle and foot traffic on the north side from Jan. 1 to June 30. Contact Apache National Forest, Alpine Ranger District, (928) 339-4384.

Lynx Lake — There is no vehicle or foot traffic allowed on the east side of the lake and a portion of the shoreline is closed to watercraft from Dec. 1 to June 30. Contact Bradshaw Ranger District, (928) 443-8000.

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