The Montezuma County commissioners' concerns about an eagle's nest on BLM lands and how it came to be there seemed to be somewhat mollified Monday after five officials from the Bureau of Land Management’s Tres Rios Field Office joined the commissioners at the table.
In September, Montezuma County Commission Chair Larry Don Suckla questioned the BLM’s assessment of a golden eagle’s nest in the proposed expansion area, stating that wildlife officials might have moved eagle’s nest into the area to block trail expansion. The BLM must route the proposed trails around the nest to minimize humans' impact on the eagles. Suckla later expressed confusion over a passage on page 32 of the BLM's preliminary environmental assessment for the area. The passage stated that an eagle had "moved its current location on BLM land."
BLM wildlife biologists Nate West and Mike Schmidt came to Monday’s meeting and clarified the passage’s wording, making it clear that no one had moved the nest. They also answered questions about their monitoring techniques and humans' impact on eagle behavior. Tres Rios Field Manager Connie Clementson answered the commissioners’ other questions about the progress of the trail expansion as well.
KSJD’s Austin Cope and Gail Binkly were at the meeting, and sat down afterwards to talk more about what happened.