The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a permit to Idaho Fish and Game to conduct the 2-year study. Raven numbers have risen dramatically in the western U.S. and ravens are a primary nest predator of sage-grouse eggs and chicks.
The three study areas are the Greater Curlew Valley near the Idaho/Utah border, a northern area of the Idaho National Laboratory into Birch Creek, and an area in Washington County in western Idaho. In these areas, sage-grouse populations have declined significantly in the past few years and previous studies have documented high densities of ravens in two of these areas.
View a map of the study area - http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/media/ravenControlMap.pdf
Raven control will occur from mid-March through mid-June, this year and next, during the sage-grouse nesting season. Control efforts will be conducted by authorized Fish and Game personnel. Fish and Game has requested assistance from USDA, Wildlife Services.
Lethal control may include shooting, removal of raven nests and eggs, and poisoned bait in chicken eggs. USDA, Wildlife Services can use an EPA regulated poison, or corvicide, that affects ravens. Toxicity of this poison to other animals is negligible including to those that may eat poisoned ravens. Use of the poison will be highly selective and placed in areas designated by Idaho Fish and Game.
Fish and Game will also work with landowners and land management agencies to implement non-lethal control of raven populations into the future. The goal will be to limit the ability of ravens to nest on artificial nesting structures, such as water towers, old buildings and transmission structures, and reducing or eliminating attractants such as dead livestock and garbage.
USDA, Wildlife Services must complete a Supplement to an Environmental Assessment to conduct the work involved in the study. For more information on the Supplement, please visit:http://www.aphis.usda.gov/regulations/ws/ws_nepa_environmental_documents.shtml.