WASHINGTON, D.C. - The United States Senate unanimously approved legislation today to honor the late Morley Nelson, a lifelong advocate for birds of prey and the inspiration for the creation of the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area in southwestern Idaho.
As a decorated veteran, Morley Nelson moved to Idaho upon his return from serving in Italy during World War II. He immediately focused his passion on birds of prey. Recognizing the unique importance of the Snake River area for birds of prey, he promoted to area residents the importance of accepting the birds as an integral piece of the ecosystem. His work led to Congressional establishment of the National Conservation Area, which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
Not limiting himself to Idaho, Morley spent decades raising public awareness about birds of prey through scores of speeches with an eagle on his fist, and through dozens of movies and TV specials starring his eagles and hawks, including seven films for Disney. He also recognized the inherent danger of power lines to birds of prey. Working with Idaho Power and other utilities, he sparked the development of guards and redesigned power transmission lines to reduce raptor electrocution. This technology has since spread throughout the world.
Idaho Senators Larry Craig and Mike Crapo praised the work of Morley Nelson, "It is an honor to be able to recognize the work of Morley Nelson in this way. No single person did more for birds of prey and there is no better way to recognize, honor, and remember that. As Morley once said, `This is where the wind and the cliffs and the birds are. This is where I'll always be.' It only seems fitting that the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area should bear his name."
Representatives Mike Simpson and C.L. "Butch" Otter sponsored identical legislation in the House.
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