The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has developed an Inland Avian Predation Management Plan and associated Environmental Assessment for managing birds (avian predators) that prey on Endangered Species Act (ESA)-listed fish species in the Columbia and Snake rivers. This effort by the Corps and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) is part of the overall effort to comply with the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS) 2008 Biological Opinion (BiOp) from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (as updated by the 2010 and 2014 Supplemental BiOps).
The BiOp directs the Corps, Reclamation and the Bonneville Power Administration, (also called the Action Agencies) to address avian predation within the FCRPS as part of an Inland Avian Predation Management Plan. In particular, NMFS has directed the Action Agencies to address inland avian predation through several Reasonable and Prudent Alternative (RPA) elements including:
· RPA 47: The Action Agencies will develop an avian management plan for Corps-owned lands and associated shallow-water habitat.
· RPA 68: The Action Agencies will monitor avian predator populations in the mid-Columbia River and evaluate their impacts on outmigrating juvenile salmon and steelhead and develop and implement a management plan to decrease predation rates, if warranted.
The Inland Avian Predation Management Plan focuses on colony-based habitat management actions on federal lands. Previous research has determined that the greatest benefit could be achieved by managing caspian tern colonies with demonstrated high rates of predation on ESA-listed fish species. The plan proposes management actions at Goose Island (Potholes Reservoir in Grant County, Wash.) and Crescent Island (McNary Reservoir on the Columbia River in Walla Walla County, Wash.) to dissuade caspian terns from nesting at these locations. The effectiveness of tern-dissuasion actions at Goose and Crescent Islands would 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 includes provisions for developing out-of-basin caspian tern nesting sites to attract terns to areas where they will not feed on Columbia River ESA-listed fish species. Provisions for monitoring and adaptive management are also included to address uncertainties associated with the outcomes of the proposed actions.
The Finding of No Significant Impact for the Environmental Assessment was signed on Jan. 23, 2014. The IAPMP is included as an appendix within the "EA & Plan" link. If you have questions or need additional information, contact the Public Affairs Office at 509-527-7020.