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pnixon


May 14, 2008, 11:55 AM
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Fresno Dome & Peregrine Falcons
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I'm new to this forum and was hoping to get some information about the Fresno Dome Area. Last Sunday my son and I walked to the base of its south face to view the Peregrine Falcons (from a distance of course). I was shocked to find climbers on this area of the dome. 2 climbers were on their way down from a climb and asked if they had viewed the bird. One of them was not happy but agreed he was in the wrong. As we walked along the base of the south face we witnessed 2 women with many dogs. I believe they had about 3 to 4 dogs. The dogs where barking and making such a nuisance that the Falcons where in flight directly above these 2 ladies. The 2 women seemed to not care about the Falcon's presences and continued to climb.

I'm not sure what can be done but nothing is posted about this area. Can someone tell me where I can find more information about closures on this dome? I have already contacted the Dept of Fish and Game about this incident and have been told I should fill out a statement to send in. The ranger told me about how they are trying to close down this area through the Migratory Treaty Act. He also said that he will begin sending patrols up to the base to help educate and warn.

Any info would be appreciated.

Thanks.


oldandintheway


May 17, 2008, 5:39 PM
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Re: [pnixon] Fresno Dome & Peregrine Falcons [In reply to]
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Don't hold your breath. Fish & Game is a State agency and Fresno Dome is on Federal land. The wheels of cooperation turn slowly based mostly on funding. CA is in the midst of a budget shortfall so don't expect any movement there. If you are so inclined your best bet would be to pursue an educational campaign at the climbing shops in Fresno and in the Valley.


pnixon


May 19, 2008, 10:44 AM
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Re: [oldandintheway] Fresno Dome & Peregrine Falcons [In reply to]
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Fish and game is a state run agency and yes, I did run into a dead end. But the F&W ranger told me to contact the DOI. The DOI has ultimate control of this tract of land because it is Fed land. Under this initiative they can respond and follow up.

http://www.doi.gov/initiatives/birdsforever.html

According to the woman I spoke with last week she wants me to fill out an incident form/report for her to submit for follow up on the Fresno Dome area. According to her they have regional (DOI) representatives who will go and view certain area's and if follow up is deemed nessessary then closure would ultimately occur. Now how long that takes is anyone's guess.

Thanks for the response.


td


Jun 17, 2008, 1:08 PM
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Re: [pnixon] Fresno Dome & Peregrine Falcons [In reply to]
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Hi,
I just noticed this thread from last month.
Thanks for bringing up this concern, since climbers should not disturb nesting falcons.
What you should do is talk to Charlie Boas charlie@accessfund.org about what to do in this particular case.
This same situation has arisen dozens of times before at various climbing crags across the country,
such as Yosemite, Pinnacles, Oregon, Arizona, etc.
The falcons need only a limited seasonal buffer zone until the young have fledged and climbers need to be educated about that. If you know the specific nearby routes, then you can get that info listed at the Access Fund website.
http://www.accessfund.org/cons/raptors.php and http://www.accessfund.org/access/index.php
and websites such as the Southern Sierra Climbers http://www.southernsierra.org/
There is a new climbers coalition for central california that Charlie is helping to organize.

You can post at other websites like supertopo or
http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/151081/fresno-dome.html

However, I would not just start raising alarm bells at random land management offices. It is quite possible that you will just cause an over-reaction and get the entire crag closed. Most likely only certain routes need to be avoided. You might be able to post signage at the trailhead or the base of the routes. Sometimes the land managers are afraid to post signage since it is possible that would even attract criminals who purposely disturb or steal birds. But the tradeoff is probably in favor of signage where there are already enough uninformed visitors and climbers.

Peregrine falcons populations have recovered from the low levels of 30 years ago, and they were removed from the Endangered Species Act in 1999.
http://www.accessfund.org/pubs/vt/VT80.pdf

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) was written to stop actual take and commerce in birds. It has little to do with guidelines on not disturbing nesting birds. In San Diego, the Cleveland National Forest has proposed closing entire large crags, overly stretching the authority of the MBTA. Because of this over-reaction, the Allied Climbers of San Diego (ACSD) was formed to push for more reasonable, justifiable limits. It has been a big and ongoing effort. For this season the CNF has agreed to reasonable advisories, as posted at http://www.alliedclimbers.org/raptor_activity.php

An example of good management of climbers at crags with raptors is Pinnacles.
http://www.nps.gov/pinn/planyourvisit/advisory.htm
http://www.pinnacles.org/climbing_info/index.html#closures
http://www.stanford.edu/~clint/pin/birdc08.htm

tom


sierraclimber1


Jun 17, 2008, 8:50 PM
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Re: [td] Fresno Dome & Peregrine Falcons [In reply to]
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I live close to Fresno Dome so this is good info to have. Thanks Tom for your response. It was informative and helpful. I would hate to see a knee jerk closure of the whole crag over this. Like you said, avoiding routes close to the birds should be sufficiant. Fresno Dome sees a lot of tourists who hike to the top for the view. I am sure the birds are pretty used to people by now!Wink


iching


Aug 15, 2008, 5:20 PM
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Re: [td] Fresno Dome & Peregrine Falcons [In reply to]
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I'd like to second TD's response. Especially his point that the Migratory Bird Act is being inappropriatley applied to portecting nesting habitat.

I'd like to add several other points to consider when approaching a governement agency.
First: If this area is on National Forest Lands make sure you have agency recreation people involved early on to help ballance any over reaction by wildlife biologist.

Second: Guard against any quickfix arbitrary closures that are typically pushed by biologist. Push for Access Fund closure guidelines and onsite seasonal response monitoring.

Third: watch out for arbitrary closures that extend to August 1. This is typical overkill. If you look at any Peregrine Management Plan signed in the '90s there will be language hidden somewhere in the document that allows closures to be lifted 2 weeks after the young have fledged or early spring if monitoring finds the eyrie to be inactive. If the area already has a managment plan a simple FOIA request will get you a copy of the document. If you need one email me and I can send you a templet to a FOIA request.

Fourth: Climbing closures that are most succcessful are those where climbers have played an active role in developing the management plan instead of reacting to a management plan, and take responsibility each season for making the information available to climbers, posting closures, and monitoring.

Lastly: Utilize the expereince and expertise available from the Access Fund. They are focusd on this vey issue in other places as well.


(This post was edited by iching on Aug 15, 2008, 10:34 PM)


samburr


Jun 26, 2009, 8:47 AM
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Re: [iching] Fresno Dome & Peregrine Falcons [In reply to]
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 Actually the MBTA "take" clause is what they manage Peregrine closures under... and honestly I'd be careful. It can be a felony, or a 6- digit fine if you are found responsible for a take under the MBTA. A take is not the smoking gun- bird- in- the- back -of your- truck kind of take, but enough disturbance to an active nest can cause a nest failure (if the birds are screaming at you for any length of time, you really should leave), and a nest failure is a take on each of the nestlings in the nest (read: 2 nestlings, two take). I'm not the law, but I know a lot about them- I deal with MBTS and BGEPA every day for workie work.


iching


Jun 27, 2009, 10:25 PM
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Re: [samburr] Fresno Dome & Peregrine Falcons [In reply to]
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Samburr,
Your on the wrong tack. If you want to play the intimidation game realize that "take" is a pretty difficult thing to prove in a court of law. There are nest failures contributable to a lot of other things than disturbance. Can your say "PARTNERSHIP, COOPERATION"

The best way I've found to manage nesting closures in my area has been to:
1) Give climbers ownership and acknowledgement in helping to manage the climbing resources.
2) Get climbers involved with the monitoring. make them a part of the solution rather than a group that wants to kick sand in your face (win-win).
3) Understand what the needs of the nesting pair are rather than setting up arbitrary closures that reduce your credibility. These needs can change from year to year depending on the site and the nesting pair. Closures should be based on the needs of the birds rather than the personality needs of the biologist.
4) Allow access surrounding areas and open the closure 2-weeks after the young have fledged (win-win).

If you need more information on how to developed a science based approach rather than the typical "cut and paste" arbitrary closure approach I suggest revisiting two good guide from the 90s when Peregrine were actually Threatened and Endangered:

Cade, T.J., J.H. Enderson, and J. Linthicum. 1996. Guide to management of Peregrine Falcons at the eyrie. The Peregrine Fund Inc., Boise, ID. http://www.peregrinefund.org/pdfs/ResearchLibrary/Eyrie_management.pdf

and

Raptors & Climbers (Access Fund, 1997) providing common-sense guidelines for managing climbing activity to protect raptor nest sites. Access Fund 303.545.6772. http://www.accessfund.org/site/c.tmL5KhNWLrH/b.5014009/k.6AFE/Climbing_and_Raptors.htm


(This post was edited by iching on Jun 28, 2009, 7:31 AM)


norushnomore


Jul 6, 2009, 6:03 PM
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Re: [pnixon] Fresno Dome & Peregrine Falcons [In reply to]
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This girl with 5 dogs is very much into protecting falcons

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=593721&tn=0#msg896732

She is under impression that her dogs are harmless

You can contact her with your point of view by posting a comment on supertopo or emailing directly


samburr


Aug 12, 2009, 7:26 PM
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Re: [iching] Fresno Dome & Peregrine Falcons [In reply to]
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woah- woah- woah, first of all- you're right, I agree, this is CLEARLY the best way to manage climbers and falcons from biology standpoint and climber standpoint. Nothing is more annoying to me as a climber and bird dork than seeing misplaced blanket closures in the non nesting area. However, that usually means that the land managment agency is too strapped to actually watch the birds... isn't it amazing how many land managment decisions are made from behind a desk.....
I recently gave a talk on birds and nesting closures to a climber group and, well, the resposes were a bit surprising. It took a lot more explaining than I was expecting about basic biology and the reasons for a "buffer" for disturbance around a nest at all. With that post, I wanted to highlight why there are buffers and the laws involved. The general theme that I've found with many of my own friends and great folks you meet along the way is that many I was talking to needed more education on bird biology and how "bitchy" wild peregrines (those that have not previously been acclimated to human disturbance, aka the city falcons....) and especially golden eagles can be to disturbance in their territory- that was a new concept and yes, most climbers are totally respectful, incredible folks that aren't that bad at helping out, but I've found that many are in need of a bit more education on the whole thing.
....and about take, yeah, it's pretty hard to prove, but, well, it does happen.... trust me. If you care to discuss THAT more, send me a personal message and I'd love to chat on the phone.... but not appropriate for here.

Yup, of course failures happen for a variety of reasons, but I think it is important to recognize that science based, accurate closures are a necessary part of keeping this and all species around and making more babies, and in my opinion, ultimate respect should be paid to appropriate climbing closures- it's often up to climbers to respect these closures for what they stand for, not the potential litigation involved- APPROPRIATE climbing closures should afford enough climbing around enough space for these birds to make it through the season without more stress.
Phew.


iching


Jan 22, 2010, 6:36 PM
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Re: [samburr] Fresno Dome & Peregrine Falcons [In reply to]
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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)


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