Killing cormorants to save salmon: 11,000 in crosshairs of controversial program
EAST SAND ISLAND, COLUMBIA RIVER ESTUARY — Shots ring out — boom, boom, boom, boom — then there’s a splash: government agents gunning for double-crested cormorants have hit their mark again.
Federal agents have stalked this tiny uninhabited island with night-vision goggles and silencers, blasting birds on the nest. They have oiled more than 5,000 eggs to suffocate the embryos within. And now, they have taken to the water, firing at double-crested cormorants with shotguns under a federal program intended to boost juvenile salmon and steelhead survival.