Plumas and Sierra County Restrict USDA’s ‘Wildlife Services’ Contract

Feather River Action! out of Portola has partnered with the Coyote Project to end mass killings of wildlife in Plumas and Sierra counties.

The two nonprofits challenged the counties on not conducting mandatory CEQA review under a contract with the USDA’s Wildlife Services Program, whose mission is to provide federal leadership and expertise to resolve wildlife conflicts with people for coexistence purposes.

However, “wildlife Service” has been exposed to have spent taxpayer dollars to kill nearly 2 million animals last year, 400,000 being native. As the Sac Bee investigative reports and the Center for Biological Diversity reveal, that number is underestimated.

Attorney for the advocacy groups said, “Many rural counties are coming to recognize that funding primarily lethal methods of ‘wildlife management is not justified scientifically, economically or ethically. Plumas and Sierra Counties will be engaging in an environmental impact report that aims to be completed in two years to evaluate the extent and consequences of human interactions with wildlife across the region.”

The Wildlife service’s killing program had primarily aimed to combat conflict with commercial agriculture. As wolves have been returned to the region, cattle producers face multiple instances of depredation. The effort to gain county compliance by Feather River Action! And the coyote project process was partly to protect the Beckwourth wolf pack that has recently been found to be living in Southern Plumas County.

Restricting the USDA’s Wildlife Services contracts has been a significant victory for wildlife advocates.