Lakeside Property

Would Massive Bear’s bald eagles fly away if 50-home venture wins county’s OK?

The group behind the favored Massive Bear Bald Eagle Nest Cam is looking for the rejection of an area developer’s plan to construct homes on a property the place bald eagles perch and forage.

Associates of Massive Bear Valley, a non-profit group that’s run the reside internet cam since 2015, contends the proposed Moon Camp venture, which might have 50 houses and a marina with areas for 55 boats in Fawnskin would infringe on the eagles’ already shrinking habitat. And that would drive them out of the valley. Members additionally fear that a rise in human exercise and noise may trigger the eagles to desert their nest close to the decrease Grays Peak Path.

However the developer says the impression on the eagles can be restricted as a result of lakefront houses are not a part of the plan and the shoreline will probably be closed to folks throughout a lot of the nesting season. There is also a state-mandated plan to observe wildlife — together with bald eagles and uncommon crops — on the property.

The Associates is encouraging residents to ship letters to the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors earlier than it considers the venture Tuesday, Oct. eight.

“Each time we lower out one other (foraging space) it makes it more durable for them to search out meals,” Sandy Steers, Associates of Massive Bear Valley’s government director mentioned. “This one is so near the nest. It’s very simple for (the eagles) to get to the place they’re feeding chicks.”

Steers mentioned the nest is about half a mile from the property; the developer says it’s 1 mile away.

The 62-acre property is on the lake’s north shore, the place eagles will be seen perched on timber overlooking the lake to get a greater view of their prey. The water in that a part of the lake is shallow sufficient for eagles to hunt fish and water fowl, making it a preferred foraging floor.

Whereas not endangered, bald eagles are absolutely protected below state regulation. Numbers are on the rise, however extra monitoring is required for higher inhabitants estimates, in line with the state Division of Fish and Wildlife’s web site. The breeding season for eagles in many of the state lasts from about January by means of July or August, with the winter months being the most well-liked time to see them, the web site states.

Eagles are recognized to winter within the valley, however there’s at the moment one recognized pair of eagles nesting within the space — Jackie and Shadow — who had two chicks earlier this yr. Internet cam viewers watched Jackie lay eggs and take care of her eaglets for the previous two seasons. They’ve additionally seen the lack of two of her chicks, BBB and Cookie, who died in 2017 and 2018, respectively, after extreme climate. The world across the nest is mostly off-limits to the general public till the chicks be taught to fly.

Most eagles can adapt to human exercise close to their nests, nevertheless it’s unknown how this pair would reply, mentioned Peter Bloom, zoologist and chief government of Bloom Organic Inc., which has assisted in monitoring the Massive Bear eagles.

If the water fowl and fish on which the eagles feed are not out there as a result of the boats within the venture’s proposed marina are in the way in which, there’s too many individuals close to the shore or perch timber are eliminated, Bloom mentioned he expects the eagles would use the world much less.

“What we have to do right here is determine simply how a lot time the eagles spend looking from the proposed marina neighborhood relative to the place they hunt for the remainder of the day,” Bloom mentioned. “If, for instance, they’re 100% within the neighborhood of the marina then growth of a marina will doubtless exclude the bald eagle from Massive Bear Lake.”

 

Michael Perry, Moon Camp’s venture supervisor, mentioned he and others behind the venture are longtime Massive Bear Valley residents and take safety of the eagles significantly.

“They’re an asset to our valley,” Perry mentioned. “We don’t need to disrupt them.”

The venture has been lowered by eradicating lakefront houses from the plan, he mentioned. Additionally, the lakefront will probably be closed from December by means of April, throughout a lot of nesting season and when different eagles go to. The venture wouldn’t trigger eagles to desert their nest, which is about 1 mile away, Perry mentioned.

The developer contends the venture would add $three million in neighborhood advantages, together with a brand new water nicely, water system and visitors enhancements, upgraded fireplace circulate and new fireplace hydrants. About 9 acres on the property can be preserved for bald eagles and uncommon crops, such because the ashy-gray Indian paintbrush, plus an extra 10 acres for uncommon crops off web site.

The developer is required by the state Division of Fish and Wildlife to create a long-term plan for managing wildlife on the property, Perry mentioned.

They’re additionally prohibited from eradicating the “best suited” perch timber from the property, mentioned Terri Rahhal, San Bernardino County’s director of land-use companies.

Specialists have evaluated the timber on the property and made suggestions for the perfect perch timber, Rahhal mentioned.

The venture has been downsized because it was first launched in 2004.

Unique plans known as for 92 homes, together with 31 residential lakefront heaps and realignment of North Shore Drive, or Freeway 38. The venture stalled due to opposition, a county report mentioned. In 2010, the developer modified the plan to drop the variety of homes from 92 to 50, improve lot sizes from 7,200 sq. toes to 20,000 sq. toes, eradicate lakefront heaps and realign the highway. The heaps can be offered individually and developed into customized houses and a personal marina with area for 50 boats, the report said.

The proposed homes can be in a gated neighborhood north of Freeway 38. Residents would have a marina car parking zone and neighborhood lake entry. 

“We took our time and wished to do it proper,” Perry mentioned. “We really feel at this level that we have now finished it proper.”

Nonetheless, Steers worries in regards to the venture’s impression on the water provide, fireplace hazard and emergency evacuation from the world. Most of all, she’s nervous the venture might drive the eagles away.

“I’m positive they’ll survive elsewhere, however we’ll lose,” Steers mentioned. “Individuals have come to the valley simply to see the eagles they usually’ve been impressed with how we have now eagles right here.”

IF YOU GO

What: The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors will contemplate the Moon Camp venture close to Massive Bear Lake.

When: 10 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. eight

The place: Covington Chambers, on the San Bernardino County Authorities Middle’s first flooring, 385 N. Arrowhead Ave., San Bernardino

Info: sbcounty.gov

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