NORFOLK--After much debate, one of three bald eagle nests at the Norfolk Botanical Garden will be removed.
The announcement Tuesday came after meetings that included representatives of the USDA Wildlife Services and other federal, state and local agencies.
In the end, it was recommended to the city of Norfolk, which owns the land, to remove the nests, which have been watched around the world on the live WVEC.com Eagle Cam.
In the last 10 years, four bald eagles have been struck and killed by aircraft landing at Norfolk International Airport. The USDA identified bald eagles as "an extremely high" hazard risk to aircraft.
The FAA also said, based on information from US Fish and Wildlife Service, Va. Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries and USDA Wildlife Services that "there is no compelling conservation reason to protect the nest at Norfolk Botanical Garden."
The agencies cited concerns for the safety of the flying public and bald eagles.
Norfolk has filed for the necessary federal and state permits to remove them. No date for the removal has been set, although they must be removed by next nesting season, City spokeswoman Lori Crouch told WVEC.com.
She added that the nest would likely be removed in the next few months, before mating season.
"DGIF, one of our earlier partners in the project, told us that Norfolk's Eagle Cam was one of the first massively-viewed wildlife webcams on the internet, and there have been many similar webcams established in the past few years. We know our cam has had many dedicated fans around the world who enjoyed watching our family of eagles over the years, and we're exploring the options for something similar," says WVEC.com's Director of Digital Media Pete McElveen.
He said the decision means that WVEC's seven-year Eagle Cam partnership with Norfolk Botanical Garden has ended, as it appears unlikely that there will be a nesting pair of eagles at the Garden next year. "We hope to work with NBG on other worthy projects in the future," said McElveen.