The gatherings of migratory eagles and the hundreds of nesting pairs nearby make this one of the most important places on the East Coast for bald eagles, according to conservation officials. Yet this bucolic scene is now threatened, they say, by a massive luxury resort proposed for nearly 1,000 acres atop cliffs where eagles wheel in the skies above.As you may have seen from all the eagle pictures I've posted here in the last few years, Bald Eagles aren't exactly rare in the Chesapeake Bay region; in fact, it's thought that the Bay does not have enough habitat to support all the eagles in produces, and some young eagles must migrate out to find new territory
The planned resort on Fones Cliffs has angered land preservation advocates, property owners and the researcher who chronicled the remarkable recovery of the bald eagle, once seemingly bound to follow the dodo into extinction.
Bryan D. Watts, one of the nation’s top eagle experts, said the river stretch where the birds feed is a national “sweet spot” that offers the perfect menu and environment for nesting and migratory eagles alike. The luxury resort, he said, would drive eagles away.That's not apparent to me. Eagles appear to tolerate a lot of human activity, if there are enough high trees left to perch in. We seem to have several nesting pairs withing easy reach of our beach, and we often see them perched over active beach areas.
“That level of human activity just isn’t compatible with the amount of eagles that use that site,” Watts said.
The developer of Fones Cliffs Resort and Spa, opponents add, has moved this environmental saga into the personal, attacking opponents as conservation extremists and baronial land owners intent on preserving the view from their vast holdings.I have a feeling that many of the people opposing this project would oppose it whether or not the eagles were an issue. It's great to have a nice charismatic bird to cite, but if that doesn't work, a lowly beetle will serve.
The developer denies that, and counters that the opposition is thwarting economic development and jobs the resort would bring to Richmond County, a rural locality of less than 10,000, two hours south of Washington and 90 minutes northeast of Richmond.