To Whom this May Concern:
Through certified mail, January 29, 2015, I received your letter rejecting my request for two recreational permits (letter available at this link).
They were requested for dates of April 26-May 8, 2015 and September 20-October 03, 2015. The two checks were also returned. It appears the September request is under review and may be approved when the permitting process is complete. This appeal will relate mainly to the request for a recreational permit for April 26-May 8, 2015. I am also requesting that the Snowy Plover bird issue be considered as a non-issue throughout the year as it relates to the North American Eagle request for permission to operate on the Alvord Dry Lake, Oregon.
I am appealing the rejection of the recreational permit because the North American Eagle operations on the Alvord Dry Lake is not a hindrance to local wildlife and that localized thunderstorms and recreational vehicle usage would are more damaging to the nesting habits of migratory birds around the perimeter of the Alvord Dry Lake. Researching the government created website (www.fws.gov/arcata/es/birds/WSP/plover.html) it is noted that the Snowy Plover bird has not been counted anywhere on the BLM managed Alvord Dry lake.
There is no clear proof that the Snowy Plover bird will abandon its’ nesting site due to noise. Nowhere in the various websites (ref. www.snowyploverbird.org) both private and government does it indicate that Snowy Plover bird will abandon its nest if disturbed by noise. The various sites do state that the SP may move to another nest if a predator, such as a coyote, fox or snake has disturbed its existing nest. Throughout the year, thunderstorms occur on the Alvord Desert. The sound of thunder is certainly much louder and more frequent than the sound of the North American Eagle engine.
The sound propagation from the North American Eagle engine is far below the decibel level that could disturb local wildlife. On 9/21/2014 a test was conducted by Steven G. Wallace at the Alvord Desert. The purpose of the test was to validate a phenomenon discussed by Daniel A. Russell, Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University whereby air temperature decreases with height above the desert floor creating a “sound shadow” similar to the one created when Mt. St. Helens erupted. It was noted that people within about 50 miles of the mountain did not hear the blast but people more than 100 miles away could hear it. The phenomenon validates the observations by local residents that watched the NAE speed runs in 2012 and 2013, that, from the county road bordering the West side of the Alvord Dry lake the NAE could be seen but the sound of the vehicle was barely audible. Attached is: Noise Propagation Study, Alvord Desert, Oregon 2014 created by Steven Wallace with supporting facts.
The Snowy Plover Bird is a coastal wetlands bird ranging from Washington to the Mexican Baja peninsula and seldom are found East of the Cascade range. The Western Snowy Plover bird is not normally disposed to living in a desert environment. If the Snowy Plover Bird or any other bird is prone to laying eggs in nests along the shoreline of a dry lake, those eggs would be a food source for rattlesnakes, coyotes and foxes which commonly live in the area such as Alvord Dry Lake. If the Snowy Plover Bird chose to migrate to the Alvord Dry Lake in any significant numbers, they would soon disappear due to predators eating their eggs and the birds themselves.
Military Training Routes (MTR) are utilized in the Alvord Dry Lake area. The Alvord Desert is located in the center of three Military Operations Areas (MOA). They are Hart MOA to the North West, Saddle MOA to the East and Paradise MOA to the South. There are Military Training Routes that are used for high speed low altitude flyovers of the Alvord Desert by Fighter Jets, generally based at Mountain Home AFB. It is the experience of the local rancher at the Alvord Ranch that many times the jets are literally “on the deck” and fly the length of the lakebed at very high speed. If the presence of low altitude high speed jet aircraft flyovers and frequent thunderstorms were causes for abandonment of nesting Snowy Plovers then one would conclude that the birds are already gone from the area and the North American Eagle operations would be of no consequence and have little or no impact on the issue at hand.
In addition to the appeal of rejection based on the perceived disruption to the nesting and migration habits of the Snowy Plover bird it should also be noted the positive results of allowing the NAE to conduct speed runs on the Alvord Desert. A great deal of advanced technology has been developed through the NAE project. The project is a highly technical project with new leading edge inventions such as a permanent magnet braking system, pin point global navigation system, beta testing of high end computing and data gathering and high speed parachutes. Students who have been mentored by the team through our involvement with STEM and Robotics 1 programs have gone on to successful careers and/or higher education because of the inspiration of doing something great and challenging. The North American Eagle team has a superior track record during the testing phases of the project with positive and impressive results from test runs at Edwards AFB, El Mirage Dry Lake, the Black Rock Desert and two sessions at the Alvord Dry Lake. We’ve always left the lakebed clean and undamaged.
Our primary competition is the British “Bloodhound” project which is well funded and supported by the British government and private enterprise. They are projecting their first runs will begin in 2016 in either South Africa or here in our own United States at an undisclosed dry lake. If we, the USA looses out to the British again, that will likely be the last effort ever made by a US based team. The NAE is an all volunteer project which is destined to beat the competition through tenacity and resourcefulness. I would be very pleased to know that our own government is in support of the NAE team. The positive press the BLM will receive in supporting the speed trials will not go unnoticed. We want to partner with the BLM in the attempt to bring the world land speed record back to the United States of America.
Ed Shadle, NAE Owner/Driver