Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Fish & Wildlife Ignores Scientific Findings on Commorants

The Fish & Wildlife Service is so desperate to give the public appearance of action on declining salmon populations that it is killing double crested cormorants on the Columbia River despite it own scientists telling the agency that cormorants are not the cause of declining steelhead populations in the Snake River, the most predated population. In scientific terms, the available data from long term studies shows comorant predation on salmon is not additive, but compensated for by declines in other sources of salmon mortality. Statistical analysis strongly rejects a hypothesis of additive mortality. Hence, culling of comoorants is expected to have, "no effect on Snake River steelhead population productivity or the abundance of returning adults."

Yet, the killing of more than ten thousand cormorants goes on at Sand Island. {06.07.15} This finding of no positive effect was not included in the Environmental Impact Statement supporting the culling operation. After release of the document Audubon Portland sent a letter to Dan Ashe, USF&WS director calling on him to withdraw permits issued to the Army Corps of Engineers to kill a protected species in the name of protecting salmon. Litigation against the agency's decision to go ahead with the cull was responsible for the release of agency documents that revealed the lack of scientific support for its decision.