Michigan Cormorant NEPA
August 17, 2006
Federal Agencies Release Amended Environmental Assessment
on Double-crested Cormorant Damage Management in Michigan
Federal agencies today released a final amendment to a 2004 Environmental Assessment (EA) regarding double-crested cormorant damage management in Michigan.
Wildlife Services, a program within the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, prepared the amendment to examine the environmental impacts of alternatives for responding to increased requests for assistance with management of cormorant damage to public resources in Michigan. The Interior Department’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service are cooperating agencies.
Wildlife Services and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have each signed a Finding of No Significant Impact for the amended EA. The National Park Service is preparing a final Decision on the EA.
The 2004 EA analyzed five alternatives for responding to resource damage associated with double-crested cormorants in Michigan where a need exists, a request is received and landowners grant permission. The alternative chosen in 2004 allowed for an Integrated Wildlife Damage Management approach to reduce cormorant damage to and conflicts with aquaculture, property, natural resources, and human health and safety.
When appropriate under this approach, physical exclusion, empty nest destruction, habitat modification or harassment are used to reduce damage. In other situations, birds may be humanely removed by shooting, egg oiling/destruction or euthanasia following live capture.
The 2004 EA anticipated potential expansion of cormorant damage management efforts. However, requests for assistance with double-crested cormorant damage to public resources in Michigan have been greater than predicted, prompting federal agencies to prepare an amendment.
The amendment added an additional alternative which expands the Integrated Cormorant Damage Management Program in Michigan. Under the new alternative, combined annual double-crested cormorant take by all parties in Michigan will be up to 10,500 individuals per year.
Hard copies of the original 2004 EA, 2006 amendment and related documents on double-crested cormorant damage management in Michigan may be obtained by contacting USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services, 2803 Jolly Rd., Suite 100, Okemos, MI 48864; phone (517) 336-1928; FAX (517) 336-1934.