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Judge rules to allow cormorant culls to continue

Cara J

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In a recent ruling, a federal judge ruled in favor of allowing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) to continue culling double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) that feed on salmon and steelhead in the Pacific Northwest. In the ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon declared that the Corps violated the National Environmental Policy Act when it failed to consider alternative measures before culling cormorants. Despite this, Judge Simon ruled to allow the culling to continue because it may provide some benefit to salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River that are listed as threatened or endangered. “In considering effects to endangered and threatened species, the ‘benefit of the doubt’ must go to the endangered species,” Judge Simon wrote in the ruling. The double-crested cormorant is not an endangered species. However, the birds feed on salmonid species that are listed on the Endangered Species Act due to significant population declines. Culling efforts have been implemented primarily on East Sand Island at the mouth of the Columbia River. The first cull occurred in 2015 after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service authorized the Corps to begin taking steps to reduce the number of birds on the island and prevent cormorant [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/judge-rules-to-allow-cormorant-culls-to-continue/

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