WALLA WALLA, Wash. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Walla Walla District has completed an environmental assessment (EA) for the Inland Avian Predation Management Plan (IAPMP). District leadership signed a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) on Jan. 23. This completes the Corps’ environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
The Corps has led a cooperative effort with the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) to develop the IAPMP for managing birds that prey on Endangered Species Act-listed fish species in the Columbia and Snake rivers. This effort is in compliance with the Federal Columbia River Power System Biological Opinion from the National Marine Fisheries Service and incorporates the necessary National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis and documentation.
The plan IAPMP describes land-management actions to be taken on federal properties located at Goose Island (Potholes Reservoir, Grant County, Wash., managed by Reclamation) and Crescent Island (McNary Reservoir on the Columbia River, Walla Walla County, Wash., managed by the Corps) to reduce avian predation on juvenile salmonids. Previous research has determined that the greatest benefit would be achieved by managing caspian tern colonies at these islands because of the birds’ demonstrated high rates of predation on ESA-listed fish species. Reclamation has adopted the Corps’ EA and signed their own FONSI for implementation of this plan at the Goose Island location.
Provisions for monitoring and adaptive management are included to assess outcomes of the implemented actions. The effectiveness of tern-dissuasion actions at Goose and Crescent islands may be enhanced by adaptive management actions to limit terns from forming new colonies and/or expanding existing colonies within the Columbia River Basin. The plan also includes provisions for developing out-of-basin nesting sites to attract the terns to areas where they will not feed on Columbia River ESA-listed fish species.
The EA and FONSI are available for viewing or downloading at www.nww.usace.army.mil/Missions/Projects/InlandAvianPredationManagementPlan.aspx.
Release no. 14-005