Here Come the Eagles

By Sandy Horrocks, Rocky Mountain Arsenal Committee Chair

November and December are almost here—with these months come the eagles at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal. With the eagles also come the multitude of eagle viewers, including environmental groups, school children and the public.

Eagles are the reason many people supported the conversion of the arsenal into a wildlife refuge. But the conversion hasn’t taken place yet. As we’ve explained in previous updates, the bulk of the remediation efforts are just getting starting and will continue for the next 10 to 15 years.

No one quite knows what will happen or what will be found as the site is cleaned up. Just this past summer a container of GB Sarin, the same chemical responsible for the subway deaths in Japan several years ago, was found lying on the soil surface. No one can guarantee what will be found as digging takes place to move contaminated soil to the hazardous waste landfill.

Additionally, in order to keep the eagles coming to the arsenal in a recent season, food was laid out for them by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife. This was done when prairie dog deaths from the plague threatened the food source which attracts the eagles. Salmon was brought in from the Northwest. Venison from local herd control kills was also used. This was how the arsenal’s greatest public relations attraction was guaranteed for that year.

So, when you see ads about the arrival of the eagles onto Rocky Mountain Arsenal this year maybe it’s time to think twice before planning a visit. Perhaps its time to find alternate locations for viewing eagles during the remediation and explain to our children that it’s not OK to go to one of the most toxic sites in the nation to view wildlife…at least not until the hazards have been better taken care of.

If you’d like more information on the Rocky Mountain Arsenal please call Sandy Horrocks at 303-397-5891. The monthly meetings of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal subcommittee are held on the first Wednesday of each month at the main headquarters on Grant St. Let us know if you’d like to attend.