The following was printed in the 11.28.12. edition of the McKinleyville Press.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced that it is withdrawing its request to conduct an experimental study on Humboldt County lands that would have targeted ravens and crows through the use of small amounts of avicide. The USFWS planned to kill ravens and crows at Clam Beach to help protect snowy plovers.
In a press release, the USFWS stated that “it remains committed to working with the local community to find solutions to crow and raven predation on Western Snowy Plovers on Clam Beach” and has announced additional public information meetings on the issue.
Humboldt County’s Clam Beach has one of the most aggressive predation rates by crows and ravens on snowy plovers within the bird’s range. In the last 11 years, more than 70 percent of Pacific Coast snowy plover eggs along the northern-most California coast have been lost due to crow and raven predation.
“After an initial public meeting last week, we heard many concerns about the proposed use of avicide to target problem-crows and ravens on Clam Beach,” said Nancy Finley, Field Supervisor for the Service’s Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office. “Snowy plovers are extremely vulnerable throughout their range and predator pressure at Clam Beach in particular is high and we need to explore and implement strategies that will protect this population. We are looking forward to working with the local community to find the best pathway forward.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is legally charged with ensuring that populations of native wildlife survive into the future. The Service has been working with Humboldt County for several years to conserve the population of snowy plovers at Clam Beach, however, past attempts to control crow and raven predation has shown very limited success.
The Service invites the community and other interested parties to attend a public information meeting to explore options for predator management strategies for the protection of snowy plover.
• November 29 – Humboldt County Agriculture Center, 5630 South Broadway, Eureka, Calif., from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
The Service will also be discussing this issue during a scheduled McKinleyville Community Services District Board meeting, which is open to the public.
• Dec. 12 – McKinleyville Community Services District, Azalea Hall, 1620 Pickett Rd., McKinleyville, Calif, at 7 p.m.