Conservation Corner: Does Conservation Work?

By Lynn Lewis - lynnl@landings.org 
Communications Manager 

Does this conservation thing really work? Like anything in life, there are successes and failures, but the success stories seem to outnumber the failures in this regard. 

One example that is near and dear to those of us in The Landings is the Bald Eagle. The use of the chemical DDT along with hunting had depleted the population to a mere 487 mating pairs across the contiguous U.S. in 1963 (USFWS, 2007). It is estimated that when the nation was founded, there were as many as 100,000 nesting pairs of Bald Eagles. 

This dramatic devastation to the Bald Eagle population allowed for its placement on the Endangered Species List. Once protected, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners were able to supplement the population recovery by implementing captive breeding programs and reintroduction techniques. The ban of DDT and increased regulation of air and water quality also were instrumental in reviving the Bald Eagle population. In 2007, the Bald Eagle was able to be removed from the Endangered and Threatened Species Lists, as there were nearly 10,000 documented mating pairs at that time (USFWS, 2007). 

USFWS. (2007). Bald Eagle Fact Sheet. Retrieved from 

https://www.fws.gov/midwest/eagle/recovery/biologue.html