Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) intends to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a proposed project to eradicate nonnative rats from four uninhabited islands (Amchitka, Attu, Great Sitkin, and Kiska Islands) located in the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge). The purpose of the proposed action is to eliminate the impacts of nonnative rats on native species and restore natural island ecosystems on Great Sitkin, Amchitka, Kiska, and Attu Islands. The proposed action is needed because nonnative rats on these islands have negatively impacted native wildlife populations and altered natural ecosystem functions. 

Rat tracks on Kiska Island, Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.

Impacts of Non-Native Rats

The Problem

Although islands account for just 6% of the world's landmass, they are home to approximately 20% of the world's bird and plant species. Since the 1700’s, shipwrecks, trappers, homesteaders, military, and other government agencies have accidentally and intentionally brought new non-native species to the Aleutian Islands. Despite over 60 years of invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

Learn more about invasive species
management, non-native rats remain on at least 12 large islands in the Aleutian Island archipelago, including the uninhabited islands of Great Sitkin, Kiska, Amchitka, and Attu Islands.

The diversity and numbers of breeding birds are conspicuously low on islands with established populations of nonnative rats and seabirds are one of the most threatened bird groups on the planet, with approximately 30% at risk of extinction from invasive species impacts. For example, on Kiska Island, carcasses of least auklets and crested auklets were found in rat food caches. Research also suggests that rat predation on nesting marine birds such as glaucous-winged gulls and black oystercatchers might also indirectly alter intertidal ecological community structure structure
Something temporarily or permanently constructed, built, or placed; and constructed of natural or manufactured parts including, but not limited to, a building, shed, cabin, porch, bridge, walkway, stair steps, sign, landing, platform, dock, rack, fence, telecommunication device, antennae, fish cleaning table, satellite dish/mount, or well head.

Learn more about structure

Eradication Works

In 2008, the Refuge and partner organizations demonstrated Norway rats could be successfully eradicated from Hawadax Island, and this resulted in significant recoveries of terrestrial native birds and shorebirds, and the initial recolonization or recovery of native marine birds 5 years after eradication. Intertidal ecosystem recovery was also documented 11 years post-eradication.

EIS Process

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) – EIS Process requires federal agencies to incorporate environmental considerations into their planning and decision making. It also requires federal agencies to undertake an assessment of the environmental impacts of and alternatives to their proposed major federal actions prior to making any decisions.

FWS intends to eradicate nonnative rats from four uninhabited islands in the Refuge. The islands are remote, and eradication efforts would be undertaken on one single island at a time, with years between efforts on each island. FWS is currently considering four preliminary alternatives and the no-action alternative. FWS will identify a preferred alternative prior to a final EIS. The following alternatives are preliminary and may be revised based on public input and internal considerations.

  • Alternative 1: The no-action alternative, in which nonnative rats remain on islands.
  • Alternative 2: This alternative proposes rat eradication primarily using bait pellets containing the rodenticide brodifacoum.
  • Alternative 3: This alternative proposes rat eradication primarily using bait pellets containing the rodenticide diphacinone.
  • Alternative 4: This alternative proposes rat eradication using emerging genetic biocontrol technology that uses genetically engineered rats to limit propagation or survival.
  • Alternative 5: This alternative proposes rat eradication using other emerging technologies currently in experimental stages and not yet available for conservation purposes, such as rat-specific toxicants.

General EIS Timeline

The general timeline of the project, which includes opportunities for public input, review and comment, is outlined below.In the event of a lapse in appropriations, public meetings may be rescheduled. This webpage will not be updated during a government shutdown.

Month and YearEIS Project Milestones
September 2024Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS; public scoping begins
October 2024Public scoping meetings (minimum 30-day review period)
November/December 2024Analyze comments and prepare scoping summary report
Fall/Winter 2024Gather data, refine alternatives, analyzed impacts and prepare the Draft EIS
October 2025Draft EIS available for public comment (minimum 45-day review period)
October/November 2025Public meetings on the Draft EIS
June 2026Final EIS published
Fall 2026Record of Decision

Meeting Notices

All dates listed below are tentative. Exact meeting dates and details to be announced.

Tentative DatesMeeting
October 2024Agency/Public Communication Session
October/November 2025Public Review Period - Draft EIS
October/November 2025Public Meeting - Draft EIS
June 2026Draft Final EIS

Public Comments

FWS invites comments from the public and local, State, Tribal, and Federal agencies on the scope of the analysis, potential alternatives, and identification of relevant information, studies, and analyses. Comments received will be reviewed and considered, and substantive comments will be incorporated while writing the EIS.

The public may submit comments by one of the following methods:

  1. Online: Visit https://www.regulations.gov  . Search for and submit comments on Docket No. FWS-R7-NWRS-2024-0032.
  2. U.S. Mail:
    Public Comments Processing
    Attn: Docket No. FWS-R7-NWRS-2024-0032 
    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: PRB/3W
    5275 Leesburg Pike
    Falls Church, VA 22041–3803


Contact rateradication_AKMNWR@fws.gov for further information.

  • Stacey Buckelew, Island Invasive Strike Team Biologist, Fisheries and Ecological Services
  • Steve Delehanty, Refuge Manager, Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge
  • Lauren Flynn, Wildlife Refuge Specialist, National Wildlife Refuge System
  • Adrienne McGill, Visitor Services Manager, Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge


Cooperating Agencies

Key Collaborators

  • Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association
  • Native  Village of Atka
  • Atux Forever

Learn more about the full vision:

Rat Free Aleutians



A bright blue sky obstructed by fluffy white clouds reflected off of a stream shot from inside a kayak
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages an unparalleled network of public lands and waters called the National Wildlife Refuge System. With more than 570 refuges spanning the country, this system protects iconic species and provides some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities on Earth.
A large, wet, furry brown rodent standing on grassy land next to a body of water
Invasive species are non-native plants, animals and other living organisms that thrive in areas where they don’t naturally live and cause (or are likely to cause) economic or environmental harm, or harm to human, animal or plant health. Invasive species degrade, change or displace native habitats,...


A pair of Horned Puffins with brightly colored yellow and red bills perches on a cliff near their nest. The cliff in the background is blurred.
The Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge stretches from the spectacular volcanic islands of the Aleutian chain to the Inside Passage, and north to the Chukchi Sea, providing essential habitat for marine mammals and some 40 million seabirds, representing more than 30 species.