Cormorant fish predation in Columbia River estuary

Photo Courtesy of Bird Research Northwest

Photo courtesy of Bird Research Northwest

Many projects in the Columbia River Basin cumulatively improve survival of fish listed under the Endangered Species Act. An element of the Federal Columbia River Power System Biological Opinion emphasizes the need to significantly reduce consumption of ESA-listed juvenile salmon and steelhead by a colony of more than 26,000 double-crested cormorants on East Sand Island in the Columbia River Estuary. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as the federal land manager, released a draft Environmental Impact Statement (for public review) that evaluates alternatives to managing this colony to reduce predation. The draft EIS will describe a preferred alternative with the greatest likelihood of meeting specific avian predator goals defined in the biological opinion.

Photo Courtesy of Bird Research Northwest

Photo courtesy of Bonneville Power Administration

Throughout the EIS process, the Corps and cooperating agencies are working to balance complex issues, including the needs of ESA-listed fish and the double-crested cormorants that are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Colony management actions also must minimize shifting the cormorants to other areas in or outside estuary that could also impact ESA-listed fish and other species.

Portland District welcomes public input on the alternatives based on facts, observations and analysis.