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On November 14, 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the completion of an environmental assessment (EA) and finding of no significant impact (FONSI), which addresses the potential impacts of issuing individual permits for the annual take (i.e., lethal removal) of up to 51,571 double-crested cormorants, Phalcrocorax auritus, across 37 central and eastern States and the District of Columbia. The scope of the EA is to issue permits to manage cormorant damage at aquaculture facilities, protect human health and safety, protect threatened and endangered wildlife, and alleviate damage to property.
The EA serves as a framework for the Service to make timely decisions on individual depredation permit applications submitted pursuant to 50 CFR 21.41 for the lethal take of cormorants. Based on the scope and environmental consequences identified in the EA, the Service will evaluate each permit application that we receive on an individual basis. We will also conduct a tiered review under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and produce a finding identifying whether any additional actions or assessments are needed.