Saturday, August 16, 2014

Taking Up Arms Where Birds Feast on Buffet of Salmon

By FELICITY BARRINGER, NYT
AUG. 15, 2014

ASTORIA, Ore. — The salmon here in the Columbia River, nearly driven to extinction by hydroelectric dams a quarter century ago, have been increasing in number — a fact not lost on the birds that like to eat them. These now flock by the thousands each spring to the river’s mouth, where the salmon have their young, and gorge at leisure.

As a result, those charged with nursing the salmon back to robust health have a new plan to protect them: shoot the birds.

Joyce Casey, chief of the environmental resources branch at the Army Corps of Engineers office in Portland, said that for young salmon headed seaward, the hungry horde of about 30,000 double-crested cormorants on East Sand Island has posed a risk no less serious than that posed by some of the dams her agency built.

Butch Smith, a fisherman, said that killing thousands of the birds “is the one thing out of anything else we can do to recover salmon fastest.”

(More here.)

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