Eagles soar above EBMUD reservoirs

Bald eagles, once dangerously close to extinction, have demonstrated remarkable resilience over the past several decades. EBMUD watersheds provide critical habitat for these majestic raptors, and we’re happy to report growing numbers in the East Bay and the Sierra Nevada foothills.

Our lands and reservoirs offer bald eagles protected nesting sites and bountiful hunting grounds. And we take special steps to improve their odds of survival, such as suspending tree removal and other vegetation management during their nesting season. These efforts are contributing to the local revival of one of North America’s largest birds. 

Last winter, for the first time in nearly 40 years of annual surveys, our biologists and rangers observed bald eagles at all four of our monitored East Bay reservoirs – Briones, San Pablo, Lafayette, and Upper San Leandro – as well as at Pardee and Camanche reservoirs upcountry.

This comeback story has been neither fast nor easy. Bald eagles experienced a precipitous decline nationally in the 1960s due to the harmful effects of DDT, a now-banned pesticide that caused a thinning of their eggshells. But since the mid-1970s, the birds have made an inspiring rebound. They were removed from the federal endangered species list in 2007 and, though still classified as endangered in California, their numbers are growing statewide.

Today, bald eagles nest annually at several known locations in the Bay Area. At San Pablo Reservoir, for example, EBMUD biologists have observed 34 fledged bald eagles over the past 17 years, contributing to the increase in nesting here and elsewhere in the region. EBMUD’s natural resources management ensures the highest-quality drinking water for our customers. We’re proud it also supports healthy habitats where bald eagles and countless other species thrive. 

Above: Pardee Reservoir visitor Bob Marcy photographed this bald eagle in January.

We invite you to enjoy birdwatching, hiking & more on EBMUD watersheds. Share feedback of your experience through our Recreation User Survey. Your input matters!