PORTLAND, Ore. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers acted unlawfully by not considering other alternatives to killing thousands of cormorants along the Columbia River, a federal district court ruled.
The plan to kill up to 10,000 of the birds will remain in place, however, because it is helping the river’s endangered salmon population.
The corps has killed more than 4,500 birds over the past year in an effort to protect the salmon.
The court found the corps violated the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 because it did not “consider reasonable alternatives in developing the management plan” for the cormorants.
Bob Sallinger, conservation director with the Audubon Society of Portland, called the judge’s ruling “deeply disappointing.”
“The federal government has repeatedly broken the law, failed to address the primary causes of salmon declines on the Columbia River, and overstated the benefits of killing Cormorants,” Sallinger said in a news release. “Yet the Corps is allowed to continue killing thousands of protected birds. It is time for the government to stop this slaughter and recognize that its cormorant killing program rests on a foundation of broken laws.”