ILLINOIS EAGLE HABITATS WITH "ONLINE PETITION"
is said the bald eagle was chosen as our national symbol because during the
Battle of Brandywine early in the American Revolution, the noise of fighting
in the valley stirred eagles who had been nesting in the heights. Hearing the
eagles circling high overhead, the rebels rallied, shouting, "They are
shrieking for our freedom."
bald eagle came to symbolize a young nation's independence and strength, and
has been the central image used in the Great Seal of the United States since
1782 and state seal since Illinois was a territory in 1809.
in Illinois, we're fortunate to have a growing eagle population, with at
least 3,100 bald eagles who winter here each year in aeries from Southern
Illinois to Jo Daviess County in the far northwest corner of the state. Tens
of thousands of Illinois residents and tourists are thrilled to see these
magnificent birds in their natural environment, spreading their wings and
"shrieking for our freedom".
fact, eagle-watching in Illinois has become a booming source of tourism
revenue for the State and small businesses. Eagles can now be spotted in at
least 27 Illinois counties, including Adams, Alexander, Bond, Bureau,
Calhoun, Hancock, Henderson, Jackson, Jersey, Jo Daviess, Johnson, LaSalle,
Madison, Mason, Mercer, Morgan, Ogle, Pike, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler,
St. Clair, Stephenson, Union, Whiteside, Williamson and Winnebago.
bald eagle is a national treasure and we need to do everything possible to
protect its habitat here in Illinois. Despite facing extinction only a few
years ago due to pesticides, bald eagles have made a comeback, only to now
confront a new predator - uncontrolled development.
why last week - during Independence Day weekend - I launched an "online
petition drive" to protect the habitat of Illinois' 3,100 bald eagles,
particularly those eagles facing a developer's bulldozer on Plum Island near
Starved Rock just 85 miles from Chicago's Loop. Eagle supporters can learn
more and register their opinion immediately by visiting the website at www.saveoureagles.org.
Plum Island controversy illustrates the threat eagles face across the nation.
Plum Island is a pristine, uninhabited 52-acre island in the Illinois River
where more than 80 bald eagles roost every year from October to mid-March.
Eagle-watching in the area has become an annual ritual for thousands of
visitors to LaSalle County.
have purchased 45 acres on the island and plan to turn it into an upscale
50-condo community complete with a marina. They intend to bulldoze much of
the northern part of the island, precisely where the eagle roosts are
located, along with ancient Native American burial grounds. In their
marketing materials, the developers promote "…the tranquility of
nature" while touting nearby jet-ski rentals and their proposed marina which
would accommodate 40-foot speedboats.
jet-skis and 40-foot speedboats will not encourage the eagles to return in
October. Thousands of people visit this scenic area each year. We owe it to
future generations to keep this section of the Illinois River and its
delicate ecosystem in its natural state, and not scare away the eagles.
Lieutenant Governor, I am also Chairman of the Illinois River Coordinating
Council, a unique multi-agency body that oversees programs and funding for
watershed programs. The bald eagle is an inspiring symbol of our state's
ecosystem and our nation's success in bringing the species back from the
brink of extinction 40 years ago.
cannot stand by idly as developers start their bulldozers.
is vital to send a clear message to the decision-makers on this project. The
Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Historic Preservation
Agency, United States Army Corps of Engineers, and local county and municipal
officials will not allow the developers to move forward without proper
permits, but by having broad public support, these public officials will be
in a stronger position to honor the eagles, honor the ancient burial grounds
and honor our environment.
why I strongly urge everyone concerned with preserving not only the habitats
of eagles, but of all threatened species in Illinois to voice their support
immediately on the online petition at www.saveoureagles.org.
believe in petition power. Over the past three decades, I've been involved in
numerous petition drives, including the successful consumer campaign which
led to creation of the Citizens Utility Board (CUB). Petition drives
strengthen the voice of everyday people. Participatory democracy is as American
as, well, the bald eagle.
by using the internet, the people of Illinois can band together to protect
Illinois eagles, and put the brakes on these bulldozing developers and anyone
else who threatens their habitat.
bald eagle has been the central symbol of our freedom for nearly 225 years.
Destroying their habitat to make a quick buck will harm the ecosystem, cut
tourism revenue and frighten the eagles away permanently. If you share my
belief that we must vigorously protect Illinois eagles, please voice your
support on www.saveoureagles.org.