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You are here: Home Conservation Take Action Take Action to End the Slaughter of the East Sand Island Double-crested Cormorants!

Take Action to End the Slaughter of the East Sand Island Double-crested Cormorants!

Call the federal agencies at fault and urge them to permanently stop the killing. Please be polite and remember that the person answering the phone does not make decisions. If no one answers, try again or leave a message and ask for a return call.

Take Action to End the Slaughter of the East Sand Island  Double-crested Cormorants!

Double-crested Cormorant by Scott Carpenter

After three years of relentless killing by federal agents, the world’s largest Double-crested Cormorant colony, located on East Sand Island in the Columbia River Estuary, now stands at the brink of collapse.

The loss of this colony, which represents 40% of the Double-crested Cormorant population in the western United States, goes far beyond what is allowed under the law and could put the entire western population at risk. It also would mark a low point in the modern era of wildlife management and the blame lies squarely with the three agencies responsible for the killing: US Army Corps of Engineers, US Fish and Wildlife Service and US Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services.

Last year 16,000 cormorants abandoned their nests on East Sand Island after weeks of relentless shooting in the estuary and nest destruction on the island. Despite the colony collapse, agencies continued killing in 2016, and resumed the killing in 2017. Currently it appears that cormorants are abandoning East Sand Island --- right now should be the peak of breeding, with upwards of 16,000 pairs of birds nesting --- there are currently none.

This is an absolute worst case scenario and the federal agencies charged with protecting these birds are to blame. Colony collapse of such a significant population percentage could put the entire western population in jeopardy. It also puts salmon at increased risk --- the Corps has argued that the reason they need to shoot cormorants on East Sand Island rather than disperse them is that if they disperse cormorants, they are likely to move upriver where they would consume even more salmon. The Corps has announced that they are temporarily suspending the killing but they could resume at anytime. It is time to make the suspension permanent!

Read Portland Audubon's letter to US Fish and Wildlife asking them to immediately revoke permits to kill Double-crested Cormorants. 

We have been deeply disappointed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s response to the collapse of the Cormorant Colony on East Sand Island. The Fish and Wildlife Service is the agency charged with protecting this species and it has failed to meet its mission at every step of this process.

You can see their non-response to the 2017 colony collapse in their letter here. Make no mistake, the collapse of the world's largest Cormorant colony is due to lethal control permits issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is not business as usual. It is an unprecedented abdication of their core mission. Please contact them today and demand they uphold their mission and take action to permanently end the killing of Double-crested Cormorants on East Sand Island.

The US Army Corps of Engineers has announced that they are temporarily suspending the killing but they could resume at anytime. It is time to make the suspension permanent!

Take Action Now! 

Call the federal agencies at fault and urge them to permanently stop the killing. Please be polite and remember that the person answering the phone does not make decisions. If no one answers, try again or leave a message and ask for a return call.

US Army Corps of Engineers - 503-808-4510 - choose option 5

US Fish and Wildlife Service - 503-231-6120

  • Let them know that you hold the Corps directly responsible for the collapse of the East Sand Island Cormorant Colony.
  • That you are concerned that resuming lethal control on or around East Sand Island could cause permanent collapse of the Double-crested Cormorant Colony.
  • Tell them that you want them to permanently stop the killing of Cormorants on East Sand Island. 

Federal agencies are trying to blame Bald Eagles for the colony collapse, but the eagles and cormorants have coexisted for years on East Sand Island. It was only when the Corps began their lethal control activities that we began to see the colony collapse. These agencies want the public to believe that somehow federal agents, relentlessly slaughtering cormorants with shotguns and walking through their colony destroying nests, has had absolutely nothing to do with the collapse.

The birds aren't stupid and neither is the public. Bald Eagles are putting pressure on the colony but ignoring the impacts of three years of relentless killing by federal agents is absurd.

Please call the US Army Corps of Engineers and US Fish and Wildlife TODAY to speak up for the East Sand Island Double-crested Cormorants and demand that the killing is permanently ended! 

Double-crested Cormorant by Scott Carpenter

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