Florence, Ore.— Hazing of double-crested cormorants that eat juvenile salmon and steelhead on their migration to sea will begin on April 24 on the Siuslaw River estuary and will continue daily through June 20, 2010. Most activity is expected to occur upriver from the town of Florence.
Hazing of cormorants consists of disturbing the birds, scaring them without harming them, with swift-moving watercraft in an effort to protect vulnerable naturally-produced and hatchery juvenile salmonids during their peak out-migration. Hazing will be conducted by volunteers from the Florence-area Salmon Trout Enhancement Program under the direction of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife staff.
ODFW staff and members of the Florence STEP group will monitor the effectiveness of hazing by collecting bird distribution information and will attempt to determine where the birds go when they are moved off of the estuary.
In addition to hazing efforts, ODFW and partners are engaged in research and monitoring of fish-eating birds in relation to their impact on vulnerable fish runs, looking for long-term solutions. However, management of avian predators on fish populations is complex and requires balancing the needs of competing species within the guidelines of federal laws that include the Endangered Species and the Migratory Bird Treaty acts.
The double-crested cormorant is a waterbird found near inland waterways as well as on the coast. They fish by swimming and diving and nest in trees, cliffs and on the ground on predator-free islands. Cormorants are protected by international treaty and federal law.