The largest Pacific Northwest population of bald eagles occurs in the urbanized Puget Sound. Most research and management recommendations for bald eagles have been done for forested or rural habitats. In Washington, bald eagles have been nesting in residential developments and other disturbed habitats. As required by State laws, bald eagle management plans were developed for private landowners planning on developing or clearing areas within bald eagle territories. We tested the potential effectiveness of the management plans by comparing occupancy, activity, and productivity between 30 nests with plans and 332 nests without plans. We found no significant differences between territories with and without a management plan. For another 37 nests with management plans, we found no significant change between present productivity of each nest and productivity prior to human disturbance or development near the nest area. The bald eagle plans appear to be effective in mitigating the potentially negative effects of development. Management plans prevented decreases in productivity, occupancy, and activity for Puget Sound bald eagles. Although the management plan process appears to work in the short term, there are limitations. The small core buffer areas (100 m) may not manage for long-term nest stand viability and integrity.
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