- Associated Press - Friday, February 6, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Federal officials have adjusted their approach to reducing the large colony of double-crested cormorants in the Columbia River estuary because the large black seabirds eat too many young salmon and steelhead.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is now proposing to shoot fewer birds over four years - 11,000, instead of the 16,000 previously proposed.

The reduction won’t alter the number of birds that must be eliminated. The Corps is also proposing to spray some cormorant eggs with vegetable oil, so the chicks don’t develop.

The proposal is the preferred action in the final management plan released Friday.

The cormorant colony on East Sand Island has ballooned to about 13,000 breeding pairs. The goal is to reduce it by half.

The birds consume about 11 million juvenile salmon per year.

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