Audobon form letter for ACE (or, why killing 11K cormorants won't "balance" the salmon)
"I am writing to urge you to deny a depredation permit under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act that would allow the Army Corps of Engineers to kill 11,000 Double-crested Cormorants at East Sand Island and destroy of 26,000 nests. This misguided plan will do little or nothing to reverse the decline of endangered salmon, because it ignores science and the root causes of salmon declines--dams, loss of habitat, and pollution. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should not allow the senseless and wanton killing of these birds. Rather, the Corps and its partners should review and rebuild the entire approach to avian predation by cormorants and other species at a regional scale, including the Columbia River basin and beyond.
To propose killing 11,000 cormorants is an extreme measure, especially since the Army Corps of Engineers and its agency partners have not fully explored and evaluated non-lethal means of reducing predation on fish. Salmon in the Columbia River basin are not in trouble because of predation by birds, and the Corps and its agency partners have a responsibility to look more broadly at what can be done to address root causes of low salmon populations.
Additionally, I am concerned that the plan uses the intentional starvation of nestlings as a management tool. The plan acknowledges that almost 11,000 nests with either eggs or nestlings will fail after the parents are shot. The US Fish and Wildlife Service should not permit control activities that result in the inhumane death of thousands of young cormorants through starvation.
Killing more than 15 percent of the western North American population of Double-crested Cormorants is an unacceptable approach, especially when this population is far below historic levels and has been declining throughout much of its western range. In the Final Environmental Impact Statement, the Fish and Wildlife Service itself acknowledges that the proposed plan would reduce the population of cormorants below the ca. 1990 level, which is a number they previously said was sustainable. Again, I strongly urge you to deny the depredation permit for this ill-considered plan to kill thousands of birds rather than address the real issues that underlie salmon decline."