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Threatened species holding up local condo project in Webster | Environment

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Threatened species holding up local condo project in Webster

The eagles have landed and they are presenting a problem for a well-known local restaurateur.

Mario Danielle says two bald eagles are "his special guests." But they are also holding up his plan to clear the land along Irondequoit Bay for development.

News 10NBC was the first to report the eagles nesting here back in 2007. It was quite a story because eagles generally don't build their nests so close to us. And since then, according to D.E.C., the eagle pair has successfully hatched and fledged at least nine young from that nest including this past year.

Outdoorsman Denny Tripp said, “It's really unique as far as the area like this surrounded by people and houses. They are very tolerant birds. I myself and my wife have paddled right up along shore next to the pair. We've led hikes over there without even spooking them. They'll just sit there and watch us.”

The Danielle family owns Bazil restaurant and Southpoint Marina at the south end of the bay in Penfield. Mario Danielle says his plan to harvest the trees would not harm the eagles or their habitat. “We are not in any way shape or form wanting to or attempting to destroy the beautiful bald eagles that we have on our property. We are animal lovers ourselves.”

Bald eagles are no longer an endangered species but is still considered a threatened species

Scott Sheeley of the D.E.C. said, “You know, it really is a unique resource in the suburban Rochester area, one that really is the fruit of a lot of people's efforts to protect the bay. The eagles will stay in the area as long as there's open water to feed from.”

Danielle is talking with D.E.C. and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Office to find a compromise. He says officials want a 330 foot buffer around the eagles which he says encompasses practically his whole property. “So all that I want is very simple. The trees can remain on the land. I just want to be compensated for whatever the value it is.”

Tripp said, “It would be rather discouraging to have something like our national symbol booted out of this beautiful area. It makes a more wilderness like area especially along that undeveloped shoreline of the bay.”

D.E.C. says this is one of only three eagle’s nests along the southern shore of Lake Ontario, it is pretty significant. They are obligated to make sure that any adverse impact on the eagles, harvesting trees for example, is reviewed thoroughly.

The Danielle family is talking with D.E.C. and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to find a compromise.

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