After public outcry, a proposal to protect threatened snowy plovers on Clam Beach by poisoning egg-gobbling predators was withdrawn Tuesday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
”That didn't seem to fly -- no pun intended -- with the public,” Fish and Wildlife Field Supervisor Nancy Finley said of the plan to use an avicide called DRC-1339 to kill corvids -- crows and ravens -- that preyed on plover eggs.
Humboldt County's Clam Beach has one of the most aggressive predation rates by corvids, according to a Fish and Wildlife press release. In the last 11 years, more than 70 percent of snowy plover eggs on the north coast have been lost due to corvid predation.
A series of methods put forward at the last meeting included discouraging preying behavior, trapping corvids, and more comprehensive approaches like reducing trash that attracts corvids to the beach: “things to reduce the corvid population on a more holistic scale,” Finley said.
She said the goal of Fish and Wildlife is managing snowy plover protection with realistic methods. Labor intensive options could be made possible with community volunteers.
”That's something I'd like to gauge as well,” Finley said.
Third District Supervisor Mark Lovelace expressed appreciation at the community meetings that led Fish and Wildlife to drop its proposal.
”I'm really glad the Fish and Wildlife Service has gone out to get some outreach in the community,” he said. “There's widespread agreement that something needs to be done... but perhaps they need to be involving the community in exploring a wider range of options.”