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I'm sure Bob read the whole news release, but agricultural impacts of
mute swans are not the main motivation for controlling their population.
Far greater concerns are the aggressive territoriality of this species
(directed against native birds, including native swans) and the impact
of this population on aquatic vegetation in areas like the Chesapeake
Bay.  Formerly extensive beds of aquatic plants in the Chesapeake and
other estuaries, which have already been severely stressed by pollution,
are the basis for ecologically and economically important fish,
shellfish, and bird populations.  Just because Mute Swans are pretty
doesn't mean we need to let their populations grow to damaging levels.

++++++++++++++
John Besser
Columbia Missouri
[log in to unmask]

-----Original Message-----
From: MO Wild Bird Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
bfreeman
Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2003 3:38 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Mute Swans: Should We Use Lethal Control, Egg Addling, or
Non-lethal Control?

Here's yesterday's press release from U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service which
announces the opportunity for
citizens to voice their opinions on how Mute Swans should be "managed".

After all, Mutes - a non native species before 1900 - are responsible
for 'several thousand dollars'
of damage to cranberry crops in New Jersey & Massachusetts.

Bob Freeman
Madison Co, IL

-----Original Message-----
From: [log in to unmask] [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of
[log in to unmask]
Sent: Wednesday, July 02, 2003 12:18 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [fws-news] SERVICE RELEASES DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT OF
THE MANAGEMENT OF MUTESWANS IN THE ATLANTIC FLYWAY


Contact: Nicholas Throckmorton
                                             202/208-5636

 SERVICE RELEASES DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT OF THE MANAGEMENT OF
MUTE
                       SWANS IN THE ATLANTIC FLYWAY

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released a draft environmental


assessment for the management of mute swans in the Atlantic flyway.  The


assessment analyzes the consequences of actions to minimize the damage


caused by the increasing numbers of mute swans.  Implementation of the


management plan will protect resources such as wetlands, native fish and


wildlife populations, personal property, agricultural resources, and


address human health and safety issues.





"Wildlife biologists and refuge managers have significant concerns about


the impacts of growing populations of non-native mute swans on native
birds


and their habitats, " said Service Director Steve Williams.  "Mute swans


can cause extensive habitat degradation in wetland habitats that are


extremely important to native birds, particularly waterfowl.  The
Service


is working closely with wildlife managers to ensure a flyway wide mute
swan


management plan."





Because of its graceful form and beauty, the mute swan is a frequent


subject of stories, but it is not native to the United States.   Alarmed
by


recent rapid growth of the population and detrimental impacts caused by


exotic species such as the mute swans, wildlife professionals have
argued


for a coordinated and cooperative program to reduce mute swan
populations


to predetermined and manageable levels designed to minimize ecological


impacts.





In a court case decided in December 2001, the U.S. Court of Appeals for
the


District of Columbia ruled that a swan in a family "Anatidae" is
protected


under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.  Native swans in this family were


already protected in the United States' treaties with Mexico and Canada.





The current population of Chesapeake Bay mute swans consumes almost 10


percent of the total biomass of submerged aquatic vegetation in the bay.


This reduces the habitat and food source that would otherwise be
available


to provide shelter and food for a wide variety of wildlife.





Mute swans occupy and defend 15-acre parcels of wetland and some pairs
will


vigorously defend nest or brood sites from intrusion by other species of


waterfowl.  Not only can they attack and displace native waterfowl from


breeding and staging areas, they have also been known to kill intruding


birds of other species and their young.





Mute Swans have reportedly been responsible for several thousand dollars


worth of damage to commercial cranberry crops in New Jersey and


Massachusetts.





The alternatives outlined in the assessment are no action, the proposed


action of lethal control, egg addling, or other types of non-lethal


control.





Mute swans were unknown in the United States until sometime prior to
1900.


The original introductions probably occurred as semi-domestic birds in


eastern North America.  Some 26 birds established along the lower Hudson


River and Long Island in a semi-wild state by 1928.  Through the first
half


of the twentieth century, there were several more releases of birds
along


the Eastern Seaboard and Great Lakes.  In 2002, the Atlantic Coast


population is the largest in North America with an estimated population
of


14,313 birds.





Mute swans are sedentary, rarely moving more than 30 miles.  The swan


requires habitats with shallow vegetated shorelines.  In the Northeast,
it


prefers coastal ponds, estuaries, backwaters and tributaries.  It
occupies


these habitats year-round.  As their population grew, some birds began
to


occupy inland freshwater wetlands.  Mute swans are almost totally


herbivorous, feeding on a variety of aquatic vegetation.  Males weigh
about


24 pounds and females weigh about 18 pounds.





Comments should be sent to the Division of Migratory Bird Management,
4401


N. Fairfax Dr., MBSP 4107 Arlington, VA 22203, e-mail to


< [log in to unmask] > or faxed to 703/358-2272 by July 16, 2003.  The


complete Federal Register notice can be seen at the Division of
Migratory


Bird Management's web site at <http://migratorybirds.fws.gov>.





The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency


responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and


plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American


people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge


System, which encompasses 542 national wildlife refuges, thousands of
small


wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69
national


fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services


field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers
the


Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores


nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife
habitat


such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation


efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program, which distributes


hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting


equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.


                                   -fws-


      For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,


                 visit our homepage at http://www.fws.gov

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