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Southwestern Bald Eagle Management Committee
Guiding Bald Eagle Management in Arizona
Seasonal Bald Eagle Closures Title Bar

Juvenile Bald Eagle at Woods Canyon Bald Eagle Closure SignsThe bald eagle was federally listed as an endangered species in 1978. By 1995, the birds had recovered enough to be considered a "threatened species." Despite increasing demands for water-related recreation and growing human populations throughout Arizona, the bald eagle population has continued to grow and was removed from the endangered species list in 2007. Part of the reason for the comeback in the state is the statewide management efforts of the Southwestern Bald Eagle Management Committee (SWBEMC). During Endangered Species Act listing, the SWBEMC developed a variety of management programs that helped ensure the reproductive success of Arizona’s breeding bald eagles. These efforts include: some seasonal closures of sensitive bald eagle breeding areas and the Arizona Bald Eagle Nestwatch Program, which contracts individuals to monitor breeding areas, educate the public about these breeding area closures and identify situations where intervention might be needed to save an eagle's life. By continuing these and other management actions, the bald eagle will continue to thrive in Arizona.

In December, land and wildlife management agencies enact the seasonal breeding area closures. During this time, bald eagles are rebuilding nests and courting in preparation for egg laying. This is also a time when bald eagles are very sensitive to human activity, which can cause a breeding pair to abandon the breeding attempt. Once eggs are laid, a disturbance lasting 15 to 30 minutes can cause the breeding attempt to fail. Accordingly, land management and wildlife officials ask for your help in protecting Arizona's bald eagles by honoring the bald eagle closures throughout the state. Information on individual closures can be found below.

Closure Information
Airspace Advisory
Statewide – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has established a 2000-foot above ground level (AGL) advisory along the Salt and Verde river drainages. When traveling in these drainages or near riparian habitat statewide, aircraft should maintain a minimum of 2000-foot AGL to ensure compliance with state and federal law.

Seasonal Closures
Alamo Lake
Alamo Lake - A portion of upper Alamo Lake may be closed to boats from January 1 to June 30. Contact the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Region IV, Yuma, (928) 342-0091.

Lake Pleasant
Lake Pleasant - No vehicle or foot entry is allowed into the Lower Agua Fria Arm from December 15 to June 15. Contact Maricopa County Parks and Recreation, (928) 501-1710.

Verde River
  • Verde River below Sycamore Canyon Wilderness (Tower) is closed to foot and vehicle traffic from December 1 to June 15. Boating through is allowed. Contact Coconino National Forest, Sedona Ranger District, (928) 282-4119.

  • Verde River near Chasm Creek (Ladders) is closed to foot and vehicle entry from December 1 to June 15. Boating through is allowed. Contact Prescott National Forest, Verde Ranger District, (928) 567-4121.

  • Verde River upstream of East Verde confluence allows boats to float through, but there is no stopping in the river or landing allowed from December 1 to June 30. Contact Tonto National Forest, Cave Creek Ranger District, (480) 595-3300.

  • Verde River near Mule Shoe Bend (Table Mountain) allows boats to float through, but there is no stopping in the river or landing allowed from December 1 to June 30. Contact Tonto National Forest, Cave Creek Ranger District, (480) 595-3300.

  • Verde River below Horseshoe Dam (Cliff) is closed to vehicle and foot entry on the southwest side of the river from December 1 to June 30. Floating through is allowed, but no stopping in the river or landing on the southwest side of the river is permitted. Contact Tonto National Forest, Cave Creek Ranger District, (480) 595-3300.

  • Verde River below Bartlett Dam is closed to foot and vehicle entry from December 1 to June 30. Boating through is allowed, but no stopping in the river or landing is permitted. Contact Tonto National Forest, Cave Creek Ranger District, (480) 595-3300.

  • Verde River at the Needle Rock Recreation area (Needle Rock / Box Bar) is closed to foot and vehicle entry on the east side of the river from December 1 to June 30. Floating through is allowed, but no stopping in the river or landing on the east side of the river is permitted. Contact Tonto National Forest, Cave Creek Ranger District, (480) 595-3300.
Tonto Creek
  • Tonto Creek from Gisela to 76 Ranch is closed to vehicle and foot entry and floating through from December 1 to June 30. Contact Tonto National Forest, Tonto Basin Ranger District, (928) 467-3200.

  • Tonto Creek inlet to Roosevelt Lake is closed to vehicle and foot entry within 1,000 feet of the nest on land, and to watercrafts within 300 feet on water from December 1 to June 30. Contact Tonto National Forest, Tonto Basin Ranger District, (928) 467-3200.
Salt River
  • Salt River from Horseshoe Bend to Redmond Flat allows watercrafts to float through, but no landing or stopping in the river is permitted from December 1 to June 30. Contact Tonto National Forest, Globe Ranger District, (928) 402-6200.

  • Salt River near Meddler Point (Pinto) is closed to vehicle and foot entry within 1,000 feet of the nest on land, and to watercrafts within 300 feet on water from December 1 to June 30. Contact Tonto National Forest, Tonto Basin Ranger District, (928) 467-3200.

  • Salt River below Stewart Mountain Dam (Blue Point / Bulldog) is closed to vehicle and foot entry on the south side of the river from December 1 to June 30. Floating through is allowed. Contact the Tonto National Forest, Mesa Ranger District, (480) 610-3300.

  • Salt River below Stewart Mountain Dam (Goldfield) and near Goldfield-Kerr Fire Station is closed to vehicle and foot entry on the north side of the river from December 1 to June 30. Floating through is allowed. Contact the Tonto National Forest, Mesa Ranger District, (480) 610-3300.
Crescent Lake
At Crescent Lake, a portion of the entrance road may be restricted to a “no stopping zone” and a portion of land near the parking area may be closed to foot entry from April 1 through July 30. Contact the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest, Springerville Ranger District, (928) 333-4372.

Luna Lake
Luna Lake is closed to vehicle and foot traffic on the north side from January 1 to June 30. The area adjacent to the nesting closure on the upper end of the lake is closed from February 15 to July 31. Contact Apache National Forest, Alpine Ranger District, (928) 339-4384.

Lynx Lake
At Lynx Lake, there may be no vehicle or foot traffic allowed on the east side of the lake and a portion of the shoreline may be closed to watercraft from December 1 to June 30. Contact the Prescott National Forest, Bradshaw Ranger District, (928) 443-8000.

Lower Lake Mary
Lower Lake Mary is closed to vehicle and foot traffic on a portion of the north side of the lake from January 1 to August 30. Contact the Coconino National Forest, Mormon Lake Ranger District, (928) 774-1147.

Greer Lakes
At Greer Lake, a portion of the lake may be closed to watercraft and a portion of the shoreline may be closed to foot entry from March 1 through July 31. Contact the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest, Springerville Ranger District, (928) 333-4372.

Show Low Lake
At Show Low Lake, a portion of the lake may be closed to watercraft and a portion of the shoreline may be closed to foot entry from approximately March 1 through July 31. Contact the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest, Lakeside Ranger District, (928) 368-2100.

Woods Canyon Lake
At Woods Canyon Lake, a portion of the lake may be closed to watercraft and a portion of the shoreline may be closed to foot entry from April 1 through August 31. Contact the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest, Black Mesa Ranger District, (928) 535-7300.


Tips for Visiting Eagle Areas
If you are visiting bald eagle country, an advance call to the local land management agency (USDA Forest Service district, etc.) or the Arizona Game and Fish Department may help you plan your trip to avoid disturbing bald eagles. By following these simple guidelines, we can all help ensure that our living wildlife legacy will last for generations to come:
  • Closure Buoy on LakeEnjoy bald eagles from outside the closures, especially during critical nesting times (December to June). These areas are posted with signs and/or buoys, and most have daily nestwatch monitors. Anyone approached by a nestwatcher and asked to cease an activity or leave a closed area should comply. A few good places to see bald eagles without disturbing them (during December and January) are at Lake Mary and Mormon Lake near Flagstaff or on the Verde River Canyon Train in Clarkdale.

  • Bald eagles protecting an active nest will let you know if you are too close. If a bald eagle is vocalizing and circling the area frantically, you are too close and need to leave the area quickly. Bald eagles incubating eggs or brooding small young should never be off the nest for more than 15 minutes.

  • Pilots should maintain the FAA-recommended 2,000-foot Above Ground Level advisory when flying over bald eagle habitat along the Salt and Verde Rivers, Lake Pleasant and Alamo Lake. These areas are designated on the Phoenix Sectional Aeronautical Map. Special brochures for pilots regarding this advisory can be obtained by calling the Arizona Department of Transportation or the Arizona Game and Fish Department's nongame branch.

  • Help from anglers is especially needed. Monofilament and tackle have killed two nestlings and been found in two-thirds of all bald eagle nests in the state. Every year we remove this potentially lethal material from nests and/or entangled nestlings. Ospreys, shorebirds, waterfowl and songbirds also succumb to this litter. Do not discard any type of monofilament along rivers and lakes, but recycle it at fishing stores. Keep your monofilament fresh; do not use old brittle line. Make sure to use the correct test line for the fish you are trying to catch. Also, do not cut the line when an undesirable fish is caught and return it to the water with the hook and line attached.
You can help bald eagle research and recovery efforts by reporting any harassment or shooting of bald eagles. Call the Arizona Game and Fish Operation Game Thief Hotline at (800) 352-0700 or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Law Enforcement at (480) 967-7900.