California Coastal Commission: Stop USFWS from Dropping Rat Poison on the Farallon Islands

California Coastal Commission: Stop USFWS from Dropping Rat Poison on the Farallon Islands

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Maggie Sergio started this petition to California Coastal Commission Cassidy Teufel

The California Coastal Commission (CCC)  will be holding a public hearing on December 15, 16, and 17, 2021 regarding U.S. Fish & Wildlife's proposed helicopter dispersal of over 1.5 metric tons of rat poison bait pellets in the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.

The Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is located 27 miles off the coast of San Francisco. 

This public hearing will be virtual and held via Zoom. U.S. Fish & Wildlife will be trying to persuade the California Coastal Commission that they should be allowed to proceed with helicopter drops of over 3306 pounds of one of the most deadly pesticides (brodifacoum) known to wildlife since DDT. 

Please send your comments now to the California Coastal Commission voicing your opposition to this controversial and inhumane rat poison helicopter drop. Better yet, please sign up Coastal Commission website to deliver your own public comment via Zoom. https://www.coastal.ca.gov/  

Concerned Citizens of the public are respectfully requesting that the California Coastal Commission reject the pending request for a consistency determination for U.S. Fish & Wildlife's controversial plan for helicopter rat poison drops over the Farallon Islands.

As you know, this proposal targets the middle of a treasured State Marine Reserve and would also be right in the midst of our longstanding National Marine Sanctuary within whose waters such activities are expressly precluded. Sanctuary regulations even ban pollutants that “enter and injure” sanctuary resources from outside of the boundary of the sanctuary.

As constituents and admirers of the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, we are shocked at the proposal to dump 1.5 metric tons of loose rat poison over the South Farallon Islands. This project poses severe risks and will have long-term impacts to ALL the living resources within the public trust. USFWS has a legal and moral obligation to protect all of these living resources.

Abandoned by the Obama Administration in 2013 as being too risky to the Sanctuary and a threat to adjacent fragile coastal ecosystems, while also posing an unnecessary danger to non-target species, the poison drop proposal here has recently been revived by federal officials, who are now pushing the Coastal Commission to find their scheme to be “consistent” with California’s Coastal Plan.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service asserts that burrowing owls from Marin pose a threat to Ashy Storm Petrels, a seabird that frequents the islands, but the same agency has also declined petitions to list the Ashy Storm Petrel as at risk under the Endangered Species Act, noting that their population is on the increase.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife s now claiming that not one single poison pellet will reach the water, a statement that contradicts how the rat poison has been dispersed in previous projects elsewhere. U.S Fish & Wildlife makes the outlandish statement that they can kill every single mouse on the South Farallon Islands using a slow-acting and highly persistent poison proven to travel up the food chain.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife and sole source contractors, (Pt Blue Conservation Science and Island Conservation), both of which will be paid an undisclosed sum of tax-free money, (if this poison drop moves forward), state that dropping rat poison out of helicopters is the only way to discourage the small number of burrowing owls (an average of six each year) from migrating to the Farallones to feed on the mice.

The poisons being proposed are the subject of increased scientific scrutiny because of non-target wildlife disasters during similar airdrops on island locations elsewhere. The State of California has outlawed the sale of the same toxic compounds due to the unintended damage they inflict on raptors, mountain lions, bobcats, an iconic mammal called the pacific fisher, and in terrestrial urban interface locations. 

A similar rat poison drop was carried out on Wake Island in the South Pacific in 2012. After this 40-ton brodifacoum helicopter drop failed to eradicate all the rodents, the inhabitants of Wake Island, the USAF, conducted testing of fish in the surrounding ocean waters. After reviewing the test results toxicologists for the USAF recommended a fishing ban for 942 days. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwdOUBgcb_baWVd3Y0JhMU14eTA/view?usp=sharing&resourcekey=0-ykP6FyGgh3hc5aRRUMm6Ww  

Emails obtained from a U.S. Fish & Wildlife scientist admit that, at a minimum, 3000 gulls ingesting the poison pellets during a helicopter drop this fall, could return to die in mainland locations they frequent, such as at Fishermen’s Wharf, the San Francisco Zoo and Alcatraz island. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1yuelLPeUltIgfrmvOrDYlODWW_0P0iaj/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=111851110270842555913&rtpof=true&sd=true  

The death toll will be substantially higher if the highly questionable hazing program suggested by USFWS fails to keep the gulls away from their territories early in the breeding season. Any accidental wind or wave-borne discharges of the poison into the ocean pose a contamination hazard to fish, crabs, and abalone.

 

 

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