Saturday, November 23, 2013

Community News

Flying is for the Birds

Aircrafts disturb eagles at Harrison

Released by Fraser River Safari/Handout photos



he Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival this past weekend had record numbers of eagles on the Chehalis Flats, and record numbers of salmon carcasses laid out on the River banks to feed them.


The only downside to the 2,380 eagles on the Chehalis Flats was the low passes and landings of small planes and helicopters on these same flats.  Not only were the pilots harassing the eagles but risking their own lives flying among the birds.

The Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival and the Hancock Wildlife Foundation recently spearheaded the establishment of the Chehalis Flats Bald Eagle & Salmon Preserve to protect the flats from unnecessary hikers, photographers, fisherman and kayaker's disturbing the resting eagles and trodding on up the salmon eggs and fry. 


A whole group of local conservation-minded organizations including the Sts'ailes, Ducks Unlimited, the Nature Conservancy, the Harrison Mills Regional Association and the newly formed Harrison River Salmon Stronghold organized the Preserve to assist the eagles and salmon during the October thru February peak of the spawn and the eagles wintering concentrations. 

Already most of the Kayak and Canoe clubs and the outdoors people have heard of this wildlife need and greatly reduced activities on the Flats. Somehow we have not yet got the pilots to understand this need. In fact, as we all saw several low flights this past weekend we realized that here was another entire group of nature / wilderness participants that we simply have yet to educate. 



This PR note, if picked up by some press, will more quickly reach these pilots. As a fellow pilot I can appreciate their desire to find open sand bars for landing, but please for the sake of the thousands of eagles stay aware from this Preserve from October thru February.

Additional information about the Eagle and Salmon Preserver can be found on the website



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