By Billy Ortiz
View video of eagle chick shot April 21, 2011 in Lakeside's El Monte Valley: http://youtu.be/G__OAP57RW4
I am sending this in hope of raising awareness of our Golden eagles here in San Diego County. Recently these magnificent eagles have come under attack by the construction of the Sunrise Powerlink. This could be the last time we see footage like this video of an eagle chick here in Lakeside, California and in many other parts of the San Diego's East County.
If the Sunrise Powerlink goes in here at the base of El Cajon Mountain, the massive power lines ironically will be less than 4,000 feet ( closer than the legal no-fly limit enforced by the U.S. Forest Service ) from the nest in this video.
Recently it was reported that a golden eagle was killed by a contracted SDG&E helicopter near Buckman Springs and also another contracted helicopter pilot was removed from the SRPL project for flying too close to the El Cajon Mountain golden eagle nest ( aka El Capitan Mountain) in the El Monte Valley in Lakeside Ca. The U.S. Forest Service has acknowledged that the SRPL is lethal to the Golden Eagle population and that many of our eagles in SD County will die. The US Forest Service has done nothing to preserve these Raptors.
In a conversation with David Bittner (wildlife biologist of Wildlife Research Institute), David says that we have 40 nesting pairs of Golden Eagles in the San Diego East County, many of which are in the Cleveland National Forest. He says the Sunrise Powerlink will cut through the heart of 20 of the nesting sites. He also told me that its not the electricity that kills them. The reason they die is because when these big raptors are flying full speed after their prey they collide with the high tension power lines that are in their prime hunting grounds; unfortunately this happens in remote areas and the eagles will die almost every time.
The power lines will be detrimental to this historic golden eagle nesting area and others like it. What a shame this will be to our SD wildlife heritage. The Kumeyaay Indian saw this mountain and its wildlife as sacred we should hold it sacred as well.
The opinions expressed in this editorial reflect the views of its author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine. To submit an editorial for consideration, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.