The double-crested cormorant is an invasive waterbird that impairs the fisheries, native birds, swimming, boating, and water health of Lake Champlain. Reliable funding is needed to control cormorants and protect Lake Champlain and the region's economy.
As an invasive waterbird that was added to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1972 after a population collapse due to the pesticide DDT, cormorant populations began resurging in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Not seen on Lake Champlain until the 1930’s, the cormorant invasion has caused a negative impact on Lake Champlain fisheries; the current cormorant population consumes 2-4.5 million pounds of Lake Champlain fish annually. Historically, cormorants inhabited much larger bodies of water than Lake Champlain.
Cormorants threaten the health of several Lake Champlain’s native waterbird populations. Through take-over of nesting habitat and food competition, cormorants alter the natural ecosystem of Lake Champlain. In the case of some unique Lake Champlain islands, such as Four Brothers Islands, traditional native bird nesting habitat is no longer ideal for these native birds.
Private property is also harmed by cormorants. Dense nesting areas are devoid of vegetation from acidic cormorant guano. This guano is also very high in nutrients which can lead to local water quality degradation.
The Lake Champlain region’s economy relies on the millions of dollars that is generated through activities that cormorants impair—activities like fishing, bird watching, swimming at safe beaches, and boating. An investment in cormorant control is therefore an investment in the region’s economy. The livelihood of many Vermont and New York citizens depend on successfully controlling cormorant populations. Without proper funding, control activities cannot be accomplished.
Please ensure permanent funding for the cormorant control program on Lake Champlain.