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State agency proposes removing protection for bald eagles

Eagles feast on dead salmon on the Nooksack River near Deming on Monday, Jan. 25, 2015.
Eagles feast on dead salmon on the Nooksack River near Deming on Monday, Jan. 25, 2015. Bellingham Herald file

State wildlife managers are proposing to remove bald eagles and peregrine falcons from Washington’s endangered species list.

They’re also recommending greater protections for lynx and marbled murrelets, small seabirds that nest in old-growth trees.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife says bald eagles have made “an extraordinary recovery” in Washington state and nationally, following decades of decline due to widespread use of the pesticide DDT and habitat loss. Bald eagles were removed from the federal endangered species list in 2007.

The agency says peregrine falcons have also recovered and can now be found nesting throughout much of the state. Both birds would still be protected under other federal laws.

The agency is seeking public comment on the wildlife recommendations.

Later this year, wildlife managers will present the recommendations to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, a citizen panel that sets policy for the agency.

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