The Kolb open space area near 75th Street and Valmont Road and the Coal Creek Riparia area on the south side of Marshall Lake near 66th Street have been closed to protect bald eagle nesting.
This yearly closure, which lasts until July 31, is a sacrifice for hiking enthusiasts who must cooperate in order to ensure safe nesting for the national symbol.
The bald eagle was taken off the “endangered” list in 1995 and is now classified as “threatened” in all states except Alaska, according the Colorado Division of Wildlife. The division estimates there are as many as 1,200 eagles in Colorado from October to March.
The eagle is drawn to Colorado because of the mild winters and trout-stocked waters. Protection efforts are so successful that numbers have grown from only one nesting pair in 1980 to 60 pairs now in Colorado, according to the division of wildlife
The division of wildlife estimates that 70 percent of eagle nesting attempts are successful, yielding an average of 1.72 offspring per successful site.
The eagle’s steady increase in population is a direct result of banning the pesticide DDT and protection initiatives created after the bird became endangered. The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service estimates the eagle could be removed from the “threatened” list as early as next year.
Julie Johnson, a spokesperson for the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, said the eagles are monitored by a group of volunteers that update the city once a week.
Johnson said the protection status would probably not change in this area even if the eagle were removed from the “threatened” list.
“We would still want to encourage the nesting of the eagles as much as we can,” Johnson said.
The Wildlife Projects branch of the student group CU Wild supports all protection efforts toward the bald eagle and opposes it being removed from the “threatened” list.
“Taking the eagle off the list would allow people infringe on their natural habitat, which also must be preserved and protected,” said Niki Lecander, a sophomore business major and CU Wild member.