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David Johnson

Guiding in the NW and Alaska for 19 years, Degree in Fisheries, long time ifish guide

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July 08, 2014

Cormorants Eating Up Our Fish-Stop Them

by David Johnson


There is one more opportunity to let our voices be herd to help our fisheries.

There are thousands of Cormorants nesting on a manmade island, East Sand Island, at the mouth of the Columbia and they are eating us out of house and home.

"Over the last decade, a large colony nesting on East Sand Island near the mouth of the Columbia River has consumed approximately 11 million juvenile salmonids per year. In recent years (2011-2013) consumption has averaged 18.5 million per year. "


(Corps of Engineers Photo)

That is a lot of fish and a lot of money, our money.

For once the Army Corps is willing to help us out, or at least work on righting what they have done, building Sand Island. They are planning on killing 16,000 birds.

But of course there is opposition. The Audubon Society is up in arms and will be protesting this. And like other inviro groups they will probably start a law suit over this.

It's all feel good though, there is no reason not to thin them out.

I see these birds as if they were a pest feeding on our crops. They are not endangered, they are thriving on a manmade island and they are increasing at an alarming rate. We can manage these birds. Their only protection came in 1972 under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, the same act that allows us to hunt ducks and geese.

There are two meetings to attend to let our voices be heard, I am going to make at least one of them:

July 10 from 2:30 - 5:30 p.m. at the Matt Dishman Community Center, 77 NE Knott Street,

Portland July 24th from 3 - 6 p.m. at the Best Western Lincoln Inn, 555 Hamburg Ave, Astoria

You can also send in your written comments my e-mail or snail mail.

The Corps has released its Draft Environmental Impact Statement on June 12, 2014. The 45-day public review and comment period begins June 19, 2014 and ends Aug. 4, 2014.


Comments may be made in writing, either electronically or by mail. You can submit comments on the draft EIS by email: Cormorant-EIS@usace.army.mil or by sending written comments to:

Sondra Ruckwardt
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District
Attn: CENWP-PM-E / Double-crested cormorant draft EIS
P.O. Box 2946
Portland, OR 97208-2946

We are not the only ones battling these birds, I have talked with fishermen in Spain and Italy that are having problems with cormorants whipping out fish populations.

The Great Lakes are also dealing with them too.

Comments (5)

finnedwonder wrote 5 months ago

Why can we not just alter the island so that it will be MOSTLY under-water during high tide? This would eliminate the nesting potential and force the birds to adjacent areas more subject to predation. I am all for killing them but this may be a win to avoid lawsuits...


dougisnow wrote 5 months ago

I'm in full support of the culling of these cormorants. They are a much bigger threat than the nets. I have a hunting buddy in Bend who has already done some removal for the State and/or Corp near Astoria and on the Snake R, and I'd be happy offer my shotgun services as well. :)
I plan to attend the meeting tomorrow, and/or I will send an email to Ms Ruckwardt. Thanks for bringing more attention to this very serious threat to our salmonoids, Dave!


Bucolic buffalo wrote 5 months ago

I have a bunch of racoons at my house in Sisters that I would like to relocate to the island. This a serious problem all up and down the coast and needs to be addressed. It is too bad that lawsuits will inevitably be filed and tie up the management plan.


Rip Tide wrote 5 months ago

There not only over populated on the coast but at times in the winter in the valley on the willamette river and in the lakes in spring in eastern oregon. to me its over population and they keep damaging our resource and need to be managed with out spending millions



BillH wrote 5 months ago

About 15 years ago the feds held a conference in Portland regarding the cormorant issue here and nationally. We learned that elsewhere, cormorants were being controlled by the thousands, particularly in the South where they were causing havoc at the catfish and tilapia farms. At that time, ODFW did not want to deal with it under pressure of the Audobon Society and other animal rights groups. In fact, ODFW did not even have a representative at the conference. Jim Erickson was our outspoken leader in the anti-cormorant crusade. I am glad that the tide is turning on this issue although we have a long way to go. My personal recommendation is to plant feral pigs on the islands involved and let nature take its course.


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