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(J.R.H. 66)

Offered by: Representative Holmes of Bethel.

Whereas, in 1981, the first cormorant nests were found on Young Island, and

Whereas, in 1997, a cooperative study found over 1,866 cormorant nests on Young Island alone, and

Whereas, the cormorant has no natural predator in the Champlain Valley region, thus allowing populations of the birds to overpopulate the entire region, and

Whereas, cormorants eat a substantial amount of yellow perch and other fish, and

Whereas, cormorants are destroying the vegetation on nesting islands in Vermont and in doing that, they are displacing, through habitat loss and competition for nesting space, several species of more valued birds, including black-crowned night heron, several species of ducks, common tern (state listed endangered species), and are threatening the great blue heron colony at Shadd Island, and

Whereas, the increasing number of cormorants represents a potential threat to animal health, since several outbreaks of Newcastle Disease, a viral disease that kills poultry, in cormorants have been reported in Canada and California, and

Whereas, the cormorant is a migratory bird, and thus protected by federal law, which prohibits Vermont from acting immediately to solve this overpopulation problem, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the Vermont General Assembly requests that the Department of Fish and Wildlife work closely with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the federal Department of Agriculture's Animal Damage Control Unit to obtain the necessary permits to control the population of cormorants, and be it further

Resolved: That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the Commissioner of Fish and Wildlife; the Commissioner of Agriculture, Food and Markets; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, including one each to the Lake Champlain office, the Mississquoi National Wildlife Refuge, and the Hadley Region Five Office; the

U.S. Department of Agriculture, APHIS, Wildlife Services Office in Concord, N.H.; and the Congressional Delegations of Vermont and New York.