DNR Eliminating Cormorant Control Program?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 12, 2015
Contact: Amy Trotter, Resource Policy Manager | 517.346.6484 | atrotter@mucc.org

MUCC Urges Continuation of Vital Cormorant Control Program Successful Fisheries Program Could be Jeopardized by Budget Cuts

 
Double Crested Cormorant Double Crested Cormorant
Lansing-- Michigan United Conservation Clubs is concerned that the Department of Natural Resources may eliminate its cormorant control program. With anticipated general funding cuts, sources have told MUCC that current DNR plans may zero out the balance for the program which protects Great Lakes sportfish from depletion by large flocks of double-crested cormorants. "The control program has been successful at protecting sportfish populations from predation," said Dan Eichinger, executive director of Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC). "It would be disappointing if the department eliminates this whole program, which also protects recently stocked fish from congregating cormorants." While native to Michigan, cormorants did not historically migrate here with the same abundance as they have for the past few decades. In large numbers, they impact sportfish like yellow perch, smallmouth bass, stocked salmonids and walleye. Control programs reduce the abundance of cormorants and their negative impacts on fish populations. The state could face a $162 million budget shortfall after projected state revenues fell short, meaning that fewer general funds will be available for DNR programs. The $150,000 program, which represents one-third of one percent of the DNR's current general fund appropriation, is used to hire the United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services both to cull cormorants and oversee volunteer cormorant harassment efforts. "We understand that some cuts will need to be made, but we believe that there are alternative options to completely eliminating this modest yet vital investment in our fisheries and sportfish economy," said Eichinger. "We look forward to working with the department and the Legislature in setting meaningful conservation funding priorities." Founded in 1937, Michigan United Conservation Clubs is the country's largest state-specific conservation nonprofit organization. Its mission is to unite citizens to conserve, protect, and enhance Michigan's natural resources and outdoor heritage. ###

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