The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is hosting two webinars and a second open house in Astoria, Ore., discussing the draft Environmental Impact Statement and the preferred alternative to reduce predation on juvenile salmon and steelhead listed under the Endangered Species Act by a large population of double-crested cormorants in the Columbia River estuary. An open house was held in Portland on July 10, 2014.
The Corps’ Portland District is the federal land manager of East Sand Island and the lead agency for this National Environmental Policy Act process. The agency is working with its cooperating agencies: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture – Animal Plant Health Inspection Service – Wildlife Services, and the Fish and Wildlife departments of Oregon and Washington. Representatives from these agencies will be available during the open house and webinars.
The meetings offer direct dialog with the biologists and staff who have done the research and understand the alternatives.
Astoria open house
Thursday, July 24, 2014, 3-6 p.m.
Best Western Lincoln Inn
555 Hamburg Ave., Astoria, Ore.
Webinar and conference call (access both webinar/conference call sessions using the same phone number, web meeting and access information.)
- Tuesday, July 15, 2014, 9:30-11:00 a.m.
- Monday, July 21, 2014, 1:30-3:00 p.m
To learn more about how to participate in the scheduled webinars, visit: http://www.nwp.usace.army.mil/Missions/Currentprojects/CormorantEIS.aspx.
Development and implementation of a double-crested cormorant management plan to reduce avian predation is required under the Corps’ ESA consultation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service for the operation of the hydropower dams that make up the Federal Columbia River Power System. While predation rates vary from year to year, double-crested cormorants from East Sand Island on average have consumed 11 million juvenile salmon and steelhead annually over the past 15 years.
The draft EIS and executive summary can be found on the Corps’ webpage. Members of the public may provide written comments on the draft EIS and the Corps’ preferred alternative during the 45-day comment period between June 19 and Aug. 4, 2014. For more information about how to provide comments and learn more about potential management approaches, visit the Corps’ website.
The draft EIS details a range of management alternatives evaluated to address the predation, including both non-lethal and lethal management approaches.
Questions or written comments on the draft EIS should refer to public notice CENWP-PM-E-14-08. Written comments are welcome through email, traditional mail or at the open houses. The Corps will categorize, summarize, respond to and consider comments to inform the decision-making process.
Mail written comments to:
Sondra Ruckwardt, Project Manager
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District
P.O. Box 2946
Portland, OR 97208
(Note: mailed comments must be postmarked by Aug.4, 2014).