The eradication of introduced European rabbits and introduced marmots from Poa and Sud islands for the purpose of restoring seabird habitat and native vegetation will not have any significant impacts on the human environment according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. In a “Finding of No Significant Impact”, signed by Todd Logan, Alaska Regional Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System on February 18, 2010, the Service determined that the project does not constitute a major federal action requiring further environmental analysis.
Logan’s decision was based on an Environmental Assessment of the project released for public comment in early January. Of the 16 comments received, 14 supported the project, 1 was opposed and 1 wanted further study. You can read more about the issues raised in these comments and our response to them in the “Finding of No Significant Impact.”
Beginning this spring, introduced European rabbits will be taken off of Poa Island located in the Aleutian Islands about 12 miles from Akutan and 750 miles west of Anchorage. In late spring, introduced hoary marmots will be removed from Sud Island in the Barren Island group about 60 miles south of Homer. Poa and Sud islands are small, less than 300 acres, and uninhabited. Both introduced species compete with native burrow-nesting seabirds for burrows, disturb seabirds during egg laying and incubation causing nest abandonment, and alter native island vegetation. The project would allow the native ecosystem to recover and seabirds to flourish. An eradication of the rabbits on Tangik Island was also evaluated in the Environmental Assessment, but there are no plans for a Tangik eradication.
The Finding of No Significant Impact, the Environmental Assessment, photos, and Frequently Asked Questions can be downloaded below or paper copies can be requested by e-mail to email@example.com or by fax to (907) 235-7783 or by mail to Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, 95 Sterling Hwy., Suite 1, Homer, AK 99603, or over the phone at (907) 235-6546.
Funding for this project and hundreds more wildlife habitat improvement projects across the nation will come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Of the $3 billion appropriated to the Department of the Interior, the Act provides $280 million for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Finding of No Significant Impact (pdf)
Environmental Assessment of Invasive Species Eradication for Habitat Restoration on Tangik, Poa, and Sud Islands (1mb - pdf)
Frequently Asked Questions on Poa,and Sud Restoration (pdf)
More on the Refuge Invasive Species Program