03/16/12  Indiana Conservation Officers want to let the public know that while viewing the bald eagles at Potato Creek State Park can be fun and exciting several property regulations and federal laws need to be adhered to while visiting the State Park.  One of the property regulations under Indiana administrative Code 312 IAC 8-2-1 allows for areas to be closed in the park.  At this time the area around the nesting site is now closed to the public.  There have also been complaints about people parking along the road and standing in the road taking photos.  Conservation Officers would like to remind the public that this is a state road and it is illegal to park or hinder the flow of traffic.  312 IAC 8-2-8 only allows for parking in a designated area.  There are several parking areas that can be used to access the area for viewing of the bald eagles and their nest.  There are also property regulations that require people to stay on a designated trail.  It is covered under 312 IAC 8-2-d states that you must stay on designated trails.

There are also several federal laws that cover what can and can’t be done around a bald eagles nest.  These are a few of the laws.  The Federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 668-668c) states:  that it is illegal to “molest or disturb” a bald eagle.  “…For purposes of these guidelines, “disturb” means: “to agitate or bother a bald or golden eagle to a degree that causes, or is likely to cause, based on the best scientific information available, 1) injury to an eagle, 2) a decrease in its productivity, by substantially interfering with normal breeding, feeding, or sheltering behavior, or 3) nest abandonment, by substantially interfering with normal breeding, feeding, or sheltering behavior.” A violation of the Act can result in a fine of $100,000 imprisonment for one year, or both, for a first offense. Penalties increase substantially for additional offenses, and a second violation of this Act is a felony.

These property regulations as well as federal laws will be enforced to help provide a safe and healthy environment for the eagles as well as the general public’s safety.