Reintroduce the Condor? Five Public Meetings to Give Your Opinion

Joint press release from the The National Park Service (NPS), the Yurok Tribe (tribe), and the US Fish and Wildlife Service:

The National Park Service (NPS), the Yurok Tribe (tribe), and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) will be holding five public meetings to present a plan to reintroduce California condors into Redwood National Park in northwestern California. The project would continue efforts to restore condors in California and would further the goal of returning the condor into its historical range by expanding the geographic scope of recovery efforts already in progress in southern and central California, the Southwest, and Baja California, Mexico.

The NPS, Yurok Tribe, and the USFWS are among 16 partners teaming up in this effort to return the largest land bird in North America into its historical range in Yurok Ancestral Territory. The partners signed an agreement to cooperate in support of conservation of this iconic species. The agreement can be found at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=336&projectID=66364&documentID=76937.

Due to a number of factors, including lead poisoning, the California condor was on the verge of extinction in the 1980s. Over the last several decades, conservationists and scientists have committed to saving condors from extinction and reintroducing birds into the wild. The number of condors in captivity and in the wild has increased from a low of 22 birds to over 400. Since 2003, the Yurok Tribe has spearheaded efforts to reintroduce condors into the Pacific Northwest, where the bird has not been seen for more than a century. Reintroduction into Redwood National Park would contribute to the recovery of this species through reestablishing a breeding population within its historical range.

“The park is excited to work with the Yurok Tribe and our partners to return the California condor to its historic range along the north coast of California,” said Redwood National Park superintendent Steven Prokop. “This cooperative effort to expand the current range of condors is critical to the long-term survival of California condors. Condors are a key factor in the ecological and cultural vitality of the redwood ecosystem.”

“Partnering with Redwood National Park at this point makes sense for the successful restoration of this sacred bird in our Yurok ancestral territory,” said Thomas P. O’Rourke Sr., Chairman of the Yurok Tribe. “The Yurok Tribe has been working diligently to make the condor re-introduction a reality and we are very close to completing our goal of seeing prey-go-neesh fly over Yurok skies.”

Despite a century-long absence from the Pacific Northwest, the bird has continued to play an important role in Yurok tribal ceremonies. In support of condor recovery, the tribe has undertaken the scientific groundwork needed to determine if the region still has the ecological capacity to support this large vulture. Results of the work indicate that the sparsely populated redwood coast contains ample nesting, foraging, and breeding habitat. This habitat is quite different from other recovery areas in central and southern California, the Southwest, and Baja California, Mexico. Reintroduction along the northern California coast would greatly diversify resources available to the species.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is excited about the potential to bring back California condors to the Pacific Northwest,” said Amedee Brickey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service California condor coordinator. “This effort should improve our ability to recover this iconic species by having multiple populations of condors throughout their historical range.”

The proposed reintroduction program includes establishing a release facility and monitoring program in Redwood National Park. The NPS, USFWS, and Yurok Tribe are preparing a plan to examine impacts of condor reintroduction on the natural and human environment in the park and the region.

The public meeting schedule and locations in northern California and Oregon in January 2017 to receive input on the California Condor Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment are

Monday, January 23, 2017
6:00 pm-8:00 pm
US Fish and Wildlife Offices
2800 Cottage Way
Sacramento CA 95825

Tuesday, January 24, 2017
6:00 pm-8:00 pm
Wharfinger Bldg.
1 Marina Way
Eureka CA 95501

Wednesday, January 25, 2017
10:00 am–12:00 pm
Yurok Tribe Headquarters
190 Klamath Blvd
Klamath CA 95548

Wednesday, January 25, 2017
6:00 pm-8:00 pm
Jackson County Auditorium
7520 Table Rock Road
Central Point OR 97502

Thursday, January 26, 2017
6:00 pm-8:00 pm
Oregon Zoo
4001 SW Canyon Rd
Portland OR 97221

The public is urged to look at the project website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/RedwoodCondor for information on the project and how to comment. Comments will be accepted at the meetings or through the website through February 28, 2017. Comments will be used to develop the plan which will be available for additional public review and comment. A decision on the reintroduction program is scheduled for October 2017.

For more information, contact Redwood National Park deputy superintendent Dave Roemer at 707-465-7700, Yurok Tribe Wildlife Program Manager Matt Mais at 707-954-0976, or US Fish and Wildlife Service California condor coordinator Amedee Brickey at 916-414-6480.Condor Dept of Fish and Wildlife

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8 comments

  • Yay! Please bring them back to where they belong!

  • I look forward to the day when I may be able to look up through the redwoods at the blue sky and see these birds back in their ancestral home. Thanks to the Yuroks and I am happy a bird so scared to your people will be back flying over the ceremonies you hold in their honor. Looking forward to seeing as you call them, the prey-go-neesh.

    • “I am happy a bird so scared to your people will be back flying over the ceremonies you hold in their honor. ”

      Those god-fearing Yuroks were scared into making something sacred, right? 🙂

  • The day i see one of these birds flying. I will fall down on my knees in thankful prayer.That will be one fine day!

  • better have the birds study maps real well so they know how to stay over the park…

  • This is wonderful. I hope it is not interfered with by cost cutting by our new idiot in chief’s government

  • May the Condors Fly Free Again over Their Wonderful Land !!!!

  • Not seen in “over a century”! Man those government statements can make a guy feel old. I had the remarkable privilege to see one of the Yollo Bolly flock in the mid ’70s. They were all captured for the captive breeding program but I think common sense dictates that they be reintroduced where they had proven survival.

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