Forums: Climbing Information: Access Issues & Closures: Re: [samburr] Fresno Dome & Peregrine Falcons: Edit Log


Jan 22, 2010, 6:36 PM

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Re: [samburr] Fresno Dome & Peregrine Falcons
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Unfortunately "appropriate climbing closures" and "professional judgements" made by armchair or untrained biologists are not inclusive. To often there is little if any accountabilty for profesionallism by decision makers who appear more interested in receiving "quick answers" than sound decisions grounded in science.

Too often as in the case of current climbing closures in Oregon's Menagerie, these closures have become too excessive; exceeding even their management plans from the 1990s at a time when Peregrine where actually threatened. These excessive restrictions are all too often based on determinations by biologists with little training and little accountability for the validity of their "opinions".

Tom Cade touched on this departure from management grounded in science to one where biologist have become more focused on the enforcement of arbitrary restrictions when he included Willison Shor's "'Operation Falcon' and the Peregrine," in Cade et al. 1988. "Peregrine Falcon populations their management and recovery," by the Peregrine Fund.

These excessive closures and strong arm tactics have lead to a severe breakdown in both respect and communications. In the case of the Menagerie closure climbers have taken it upon themselves to monitor and determine when the young have fledged with a self-determined end to the seasonal restriction within the framework of the Districts current Peregrine Mgt Plan for the area established in the 1990s (2 weeks after the young have fledge).

Which leads to another issue: As we will see with the current crises with the rapid decline in bat populations, nationally we will all error towards anything we can to help insure recovery. Management plans will be quickly written and adopted. Each plan will be cut and pasted from another with perhaps an appendix added to more clearly define local conditions. Because we are in crises mode there is little oversight to the integrity of each plan.

The Peregrine mgt plan at the Menagerie is a good example where poor oversight in the 90s when it was written lead to a document that has conflicting restrictions in closure dates. In Western Oregon we tipically see our eyries fledging between June 15 and June 30 in the lower elevations and between July 1 to July 15 in the higher elevations.
At the time it the Peregrine mgt Plan for the Menagerie (the Moose Creek Mgt Plan) was written, the arbitrary cut-and-paste annual closure date for the forest service was Jan 1 - July 31. For BLM documents it was Feb 15 - July 31. So regardless of where you are in the country you will most likely find these arbitrary period in the document. More specific quidelines from researchers was for a closure from March until 2 weeks after the young have fledged the eyrie, or early June if the eyrie was found to be inactive. The Menagerie Plan contains this language as well. It also includes an appendix with clearly says that the closure will be opened in June when determined inactive, or if active the closure will open and climbers notified 2-weeks after the young have fledged. Unfortunately this discrepancy has lead to personality based restrictions rather than restriction grounded in the best available information, so that the current biologist defaults to the most arbitrary and restrictive interpretations.

The other thing that will happen with each cave mgt plan in the case of the bat crises, is that the closures will be designed more for ease of enforcement than for biologic need. In the case of access closures into the Menagerie, this closure has been extended far beyond anything I've seen elsewhere. At the time Peregrine experts where recommending closures take into account areas were visible from eyrie ledge and within a defined "primary" zone. Closures were then expanded to a relatively arbitrary "secondary zone" of closure. In the case of the Menagerie the secondary closure zone has exceeded even the watershed boundaries. In the 1990s while we were in the beginning stages of Peregrine recovery, Kathy Pyke put together a manager's guide to managing Peregrines in climbing areas. This document is still available through the Access Fund and remains valid today.

No one knows if there is actually anything we can do to save the bats. We are in a true crises today with bats as we were in the 70s-90s with the Peregrine. The closure you get to the issue the more you are willing to accept any solution that might make a difference in their turn around. The only thing that keeps us grounded during these periods are the researchers as they struggle to figure this all out. With Peregrine it was Cade who helped ground the discussion. Cade (Peregrine Fund) saw that biologist who managed closures where often more focused on enforcements than on the actual recovery requirements. In the Introduction to Cade et al. 1996. 'Guide to management of Peregrine falcons at the eyrie', Cade writes "Some may be tempted to think that because it was once an "endangered species," the Peregrine Falcon will henceforth always be required intensive management to maintain its numbers, but we do not agree." He goes on to say that once the breeding population has reached environmental carrying capacity, monitoring and some regulation of human activities around eyries are all that should be needed Peregines.

But what happens when there has been a successful recovery? What does it take to move these over restrictive management plans that we were willing to accept under crises to a more acceptable level based on needs. Seasonal closures of eyries is a real need and should remain an important issue for all climbers because it is a key component to protecting our climbing environment. However, the continuation of arbitrary obviously over restrictive antiquated closures, continuing to be enforced with strong arm tactics, treats, and exclusion in the process continues, the more will be the breakdown in communication between land managers and their publics. The more the breakdown in compliance.

The fact is that Peregrine populations have recovered to the point where there are now birds waiting in line for available ledges causing less desirable ledges and locations to be occupied. States and the USF&W are again issuing falconers permits to remove young from the nests to be used in that market.

I'd like to emphasize, land managers and managing biologists that are failing to addapt to this changing environment are neglagent and doing us all an extreme disservice. I feel stongly that it is important for climbing activist to insure reasonable and respected management is addopted and made known in their areas. Ideally, such efforts would be made in cooperation and partnership with management agencies. The ideal would be where climbers and biologist communitcate and work closely to monitor and educate climbers on closures, and where closures are adjusted as needed, such as in Western Oregon on the Umpqua NF. However in areas such as Oregon's Menagerie where there has been a breakdown in communication and respect; where every statement that comes from the district biologist is arbitrary & capricious, libelous (if many of the statements she has made were ever to become public), it is left to climbers to educate, monitor, and self-manage their areas.

Finally, if you are already actively monitoring your local eyries be aware of a trend that maybe occurring. At least I think I'm seeing it at one of our climbing area eyries. With permits for take being issued to falconers there may be an issue in eyries with easier access to be targeted by falconers for remove chicks so that they are being hit each season. Ideally chicks would be removed from alternativing eyries. At the one eyrie I'm concerned with, it appears that Peregrine presence at the climbing area has been negatively effected for the past two years in a row. I'm hoping this does not become a trend for the area. I'm not seeing this trend in our other climbing areas where the eyries are less accessible to falconers.

(This post was edited by iching on Feb 1, 2010, 10:07 AM)

Edit Log:
Post edited by iching () on Jan 24, 2010, 7:53 AM
Post edited by iching () on Jan 24, 2010, 8:00 AM
Post edited by iching () on Jan 24, 2010, 8:06 AM
Post edited by iching () on Jan 24, 2010, 8:21 AM
Post edited by iching () on Feb 1, 2010, 9:59 AM
Post edited by iching () on Feb 1, 2010, 10:02 AM
Post edited by iching () on Feb 1, 2010, 10:03 AM
Post edited by iching () on Feb 1, 2010, 10:04 AM
Post edited by iching () on Feb 1, 2010, 10:06 AM
Post edited by iching () on Feb 1, 2010, 10:07 AM

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