US Fish & Wildlife, Gerry McChesney, Refuge Manager: Stop the Plan to Dump Rat Poison over the Farallon Islands
  • Petitioning Gerry McChesney

This petition will be delivered to:

US Fish & Wildlife, Refuge Manager
Gerry McChesney
Ass't Director, International Affairs, US Fish & Wildlife
Bryan Arroyo
CEO, Island Conservation
Bill Waldman
Harvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology
E.O Wilson
Superintendent of the Gulf of the Farallones Marine Sanctuary
Maria Brown

US Fish & Wildlife, Gerry McChesney, Refuge Manager: Stop the Plan to Dump Rat Poison over the Farallon Islands

    1. Maggie Sergio
    2. Petition by

      Maggie Sergio

      Fairfax, United States

If US Fish & Wildlife has its way, Nov of 2014 is when they would like to begin a mission that involves the use of helicopters dropping an estimated 1.3 metric tons of rat poison over the Southeast Farallon Islands.  This is part of a political and complex relationship that exists between US Fish & Wildlife Service and an organization called Island Conservation.  Island Conservation is the firm that would get the business if the decision is made to go forward with this project.  

Island Conservation is registered as a nonprofit; however they make millions of dollars undertaking island eradication projects all over the world.  If you visit their web site or read press releases you will see that they claim "success" at doing this.  What the public doesn't know about are the many thousands of wild animals, conveniently referred to as "non target species" or "collateral damage" that are killed during these eradication projects.  This story here in Nature tells of what happened up in Alaska in 2008, after Island Conservation dropped 40 tons of brodifacoum (rat poison) over "Rat Island."  http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110407/full/news.2011.24.html

This video tells the very disturbing story of what happening in New Zealand when Island Conservation used the same method of carpet bombing they want to use at the Farallon Islands.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Skm8f2yvNg

Island Conservation has been paid over $481,000 by US Fish & Wildlife (so far) to write the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. This explains the lack of objectivity and mis-leading information found throughout the 741 page document.  Island Conservation will also be paid approx 1.3 million dollars to carry out this mission if given the green light by US Fish & Wildlife.  This is an absolute conflict of interest and outrageous.  

More importantly, there is no guarantee that this plan will work.  Also at risk, is the contamination of fish and other food sources in the waters surrounding San Francisco. This issue is not mentioned in the EIS and has occurred before during these projects.  

The Farallon Islands is an area designated by the US as wilderness.  Located approx 30 miles offshore from San Francisco, the islands are home to twelve species of sea and shorebirds, and the seabird numbers average over 250,000 birds.  Harbor seals, the California sea lion, northern elephant seal and the stellar sea lion (endangered) also come to the island, many of them to breed.  This healthy population of pinnipeds attracts great white sharks to the islands. Additionally, blue whales, grey whales and humpback whales frequent these waters.  All of these animals will be placed at risk if US Fish & Wildlife carries out this plan.  

 

It is the mission of US Fish & Wildlife to protect ALL of the trusted resources within the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.  Not a select few.  

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Farallones Update: Final EIS Documents/Decision Delayed by USFWS

      Maggie Sergio
      Petition Organizer

      Earlier this week, at the quarterly meeting of the Gulf of the Farallones Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council, US Fish & Wildlife representative Anne Moorkill stated that the final EIS documents for the proposed rat poison carpet bombing have been delayed. No word on how long this delay is. USFWS had initially planned on doing the poison drop this Nov/Dec, and it does appear that the public opposition to this project, which includes this petition (closing in on 30K signatures) plus two very critical articles published by the Huffington Post, in addition to a strongly worded letter of opposition by the City of San Francisco is having an impact. However, until the EIS has been formally withdrawn, the Farallon Islands and surrounding ecosystem is still at risk. This petition will stay open and active until USFWS formally withdraws the EIS. To everyone who has signed my heart felt thanks. You all are helping to make a difference for those without a voice. Thank you.

    2. "If You Can Stop the Farallon Islands from Happening, That Would Help Us!"

      Maggie Sergio
      Petition Organizer

      Soon after my first Huffington Post article on the Farallon Islands was published back in January, I began to hear from people in New Zealand - the country that is the birthplace of the inhumane and reckless practice of dropping rat poison pellets out of helicopters.

      What I heard from many people in NZ was this. "If you can stop the Farallon Islands from happening, it would help us here in NZ.

      In New Zealand, hundreds of helicopter rat poison drops have been done over the years. The impact to wildlife, pets, livestock and people is shocking. The gov't of NZ also exports the business of island eradications around the world. Regions such as Hawaii, Micronesia and the Caribbean are currently at risk.

      This is an environmental and social justice issue the world desperately needs to know about.
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maggie-sergio/new-zealand-100-pure-shattering_b_5610860.html

      New Zealand 100% Pure: Shattering the Illusion of Green, Clean & Pristine

      Soon after my article, The Farallon Islands Mouse Eradication Project: The "Con" in Conservation was published by Huff Post in January, I began to receive emails from New Zealand. After my second article was published in May, more emails followed and I began a dialogue with many concerned and angry people in New Zealand who were unhappy with the government campaign to eradicate invasives with poison.

    3. Update on Freedom of Information Act Request (FOIA) and the Farallones

      Maggie Sergio
      Petition Organizer

      Update on the Farallon Islands and a very important FOIA request: As many of you know, I have partnered with Animal Legal Defense Fund and retired USFWS biologist Sonce DeVries in the submission of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to USFWS. We are seeking information and answers into all previous and currently planned island eradication projects, and the process behind the administering of grants, federal contracts and how our tax dollars are spent on these projects. Our request was received in May and since then, we have been involved in two conference calls with USFWS, and the word back is that our request is “extensive and complex” and will take some time to gather and sort through the requested information. Our FOIA request was sent to Washington DC, in addition to all the USFWS regions across the US. We will be receiving this information in a “staggered” fashion, and anticipate that process beginning mid-August. This process parallels my efforts to stop the proposed carpet bombing of the southeast Farallon Islands, which runs the risk of being bombarded by helicopters dispersing 1.3 metric tons of d-CON this winter. San Francisco’s Dept of the Environment recently sent a no-nonsense letter of opposition, and I am working with other jurisdictions and municipalities that will be dovetailing on the letter written by San Francisco. With a seabird population of over 250,000 birds, the risks of innocent and protected wildlife dying very public, gruesome deaths all across the SF Bay area is very possible.

    4. City of San Francisco sends letter of opposition to USFWS

      Maggie Sergio
      Petition Organizer

      One of the complexities of the Farallon Islands is that the land is federally owned and managed, while being located in San Francisco waters. As you know, federal jurisdiction usually wins. That being said, one of the things that makes the City of San Francisco so unique and fabulous, is the willingness to speak out against injustice of any kind and take a leadership position on controversial issues. The Farallon Islands are no exception to this. Today, the City of San Francisco sent a letter of opposition to USFWS with respect to their insane plan to carpet the islands with 1.3 metric tons of rat poison. You can find that letter here. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwdOUBgcb_baZmtHdW5sN1FUTzQ/edit?usp=sharing

    5. Freedom of Information Act Request and the latest on the Huffington Post

      Maggie Sergio
      Petition Organizer
      The Farallon Islands, USFWS, and Island Conservation's Tax-free Government Contracts

      Posted: Print Article By the time you read this article, a Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA) signed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, retired USFWS Biologist Sonce DeVries, and me will have been delivered to U.S. Fish & Wildlife in Washington DC. You can find a copy of the press release here.

    6. Critics in New Zealand censored by main stream media

      Maggie Sergio
      Petition Organizer

      Censored in New Zealand!! Bill Benfield with Kea Rescue in NZ is the author of this article just published in "Investigate" magazine. Bill, along with the Graf Boys have been outspoken critics of New Zealand's eradication projects and the money that drives them. Yes, their work is often censored in NZ by the main stream media but thanks to social media and the web, their stories are being told and shared.

      USFWS often points to the "success" and "expertise" of what the Department of Conservation in NZ is doing. Of course, the public is getting a marketing pitch and USFWS cherry picks what science they choose to disclose.

      https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwdOUBgcb_baTkdCWVFtZFhzcTlTb0JnSEJUTG5Qb2VlMjMw/edit?usp=sharing

    7. Please "Like Us" on Facebook!

      Maggie Sergio
      Petition Organizer
      Stop US Fish & Wildlife from Dumping Rat Poison on the Farallon Islands

      Stop US Fish & Wildlife from Dumping Rat Poison on the Farallon Islands. 823 likes · 21 talking about this. US Fish & Wildlife Service is seriously considering dumping 1.3 metric tons of loose rat poison, out of helicopters over the Southeast Farallon Islands.

    8. 1000s die on Rangitoto Island in New Zealand

      Maggie Sergio
      Petition Organizer

      These criminals need to be stopped. http://youtu.be/NlBGx78mcTQ

      Poisoning Stewart Island - updated version, including marine impact

      This is the updated version of the Stewart Island eradication video clip. The impact on marine life was missed on this previous version ... http://youtu.be/zDxxaM2TkuM

    9. Reached 25,000 signatures
    10. Published Today in The Huffington Post.

      Maggie Sergio
      Petition Organizer
      The Farallon Islands Mouse Eradication Project: The 'Con' in Conservation

      I first heard the term "island eradication" back in 2011, when a colleague sent me an email that contained a project scoping notice from U.S. Fish & Wildlife (USFWS), San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex. This public notice announced a non-native mouse eradication project for the Farallon Islands, which are located 27 miles off the coast of San Francisco.

    11. New Link to EPA Comment Letter

      Maggie Sergio
      Petition Organizer

      Posting again the link to the EPA's 18 page comment letter on the Farallones and the proposed 1.3 metric ton poison drop of loose rat poison pellets. The one below to the EPA's website appears to be broken. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwdOUBgcb_baYXZxSDV5ZW16VW1TYUMtRHhYazBlNnI3Vmxr/edit?usp=sharing

    12. Legal Agreement that exists between USFWS and Island Conservation

      Maggie Sergio
      Petition Organizer

      These two agreements total up to $481,883.00 that Island Conservation was paid to write the environmental impact statement for the Farallon Islands Mouse Eradication Project. IC wrote the EIS for a gov't contract they will get.

      https://drive.google.com/?tab=mo&authuser=0#folders/0BwdOUBgcb_baT3VBVjJwYXBoWU0

      https://drive.google.com/?tab=mo&authuser=0#folders/0BwdOUBgcb_baT3VBVjJwYXBoWU0

    13. Dolphins and Penguins deaths in New Zealand

      Maggie Sergio
      Petition Organizer

      This is what happened in New Zealand. Watch how RIchard Griffith from the Dept of Conservation in Auckland danced around answering questions about whether the dolphins, penguins and fish were tested for exposure to rat poison (Brodifacoum)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Skm8f2yvNg

      Brodifacoum drops on Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands.

      TV reporter exposes the weaknesses in DOC's case for dropping tonnes of rat poison on Islands in the Hauraki Gulf. Shortly after the poison was dropped masses of fish died, along with penguins, dolphins, sea birds and a number of dogs being exercised on beaches close to the islands.

    14. More concerns from the EPA

      Maggie Sergio
      Petition Organizer

      USFWS & Island Conservation talk about how successful island eradication projects have been around the world. What you don't hear about are the failures. Just one of the numerous concerns that the EPA brought up in their 18 page comment letter submitted on 12/09/13.
      "We are aware that three rodent eradication attempts; Wake Atoll, Henderson Island and Desecheo Island--have failed. These efforts all attempted to eradicate rat species. The Wake Atoll Rat Eradication Review concluded that planning and associated research did not seem to adequately address some of the key issues and the general complexities of the project, and that the number of information gaps noted during the planning process should have led to serious consideration of postponing the project until those issues were more fully addressed. This is our main concern for the Farallones. ~EPA letter 12/09/13
      http://www.epa.gov/region9/nepa/letters/fish-wildlife/south-farallon-islands-invasive-mouse-erad-project-rdeis,.pdf

    15. The EPA weighs in......

      Maggie Sergio
      Petition Organizer

      In an 18 page comment letter dated 12/09/13, The EPA voiced many concerns on the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) One concern mentioned was the amount of bait to be dropped by Island Conservation on the Southeast Farallon Islands. On page 81 of the DEIS it is stated that 24 pounds of rat poison per acre will be dropped if Brodifacoum is used, 128 pounds per acre if Diphacinone is used. In their comment letter the EPA said that this amount was "Significantly more bait than authorized under the current pesticide label."

      I have been involved in pesticide education and advocacy work for a number of years, including serving on a public IPM (Integrated Pest Management Commission) Commission in Marin County. I have also investigated and wrote about open air pesticide and GMO experiments on the island of Kauai. The amount of pesticides that Island Conservation wants to use is unprecedented and the absolute highest that I have ever heard of in the world.

    16. Reached 20,000 signatures
    17. Restoration Project on the Farallon Islands

      M S
      by M S
      Petition Organizer

      Background information on the project to restore the Farallon Islands can be found here http://www.restorethefarallones.org/learn/

    18. Reached 12,500 signatures
    19. You can find the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, (DEIS) here

      M S
      by M S
      Petition Organizer

      Here is a shortcut to view the draft EIS from USFWS. Prior to that being created, getting to the document was a cumbersome process. https://tinyurl.com/toxicislands

    20. Reached 10,000 signatures
    21. Reached 9,000 signatures
    22. Wow, pushing 750 signatures! Thank you Everyone for Your Support!

      M S
      by M S
      Petition Organizer

      Please be sure and check out our Facebook page; Stop US Fish & Wildlife from Dumping Rat Poison on the Farallon Islands!

    23. Wow, pushing 750 signatures! Thank you Everyone for Your Support!

      M S
      by M S
      Petition Organizer

      Please be sure and check out our Facebook page; Stop US Fish & Wildlife from Dumping Rat Poison on the Farallon Islands!

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Celina Schnedler BRøNSHøJ, DENMARK
      • 14 days ago

      We can not let them do this, its cruel!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • john bias SALT LAKE CITY, UNITED STATES
      • 18 days ago

      I must utter power of Shem HaMeforash to demand Gerry McChesney to Stop the Plan to Dump Rat Poison over the Farallon Islands

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • John Duczek KAPUNDA, AUSTRALIA
      • about 1 month ago

      Can't we come up with plans that work other than poisoning or shooting things....

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • MARIA PILAR GARCIA ZARAGOZA, SPAIN
      • about 1 month ago

      All animals need to be free and protected.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Lisa Morrow KALISPELL, MT
      • about 1 month ago

      unnecessary death and poisoning

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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