Golden eagle deaths prompt monitoring, worry, at Pine Tree

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Federal wildlife managers say they’re still investigating the cause of death for two golden eagles found at the Pine Tree Wind Farm near Mojave.

Biologists for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) found the eagles on Feb. 12 at the utility's Tehachapi Mountains site.

The latest report says eight dead eagles have now been found among the turbines at the wind farm. Audubon and other bird advocates say the DWP should have done more extensive monitoring before building the 90 or so turbines at Pine Tree.

Killing a golden eagle is a federal crime.

But DWP says it’s working with federal agencies to monitor what’s happening on its land, and taking steps to prevent deaths of eagles and bats. The utility itself has reported avian deaths and has stepped up monitoring at the suggestion of federal land managers.

Next month the DWP will do an additional survey of where the golden eagles breed. The surveys will help justify a permit DWP will seek from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to continue operations where the eagles (and raptors) fly.

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