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Fish & Game Puts Pelican Management Plan into Action

This spring, Idaho Fish and Game continues with the state's Pelican Management Plan, approved by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission in May of 2009.

The pelican plan provides population management objectives to assure healthy sustainable pelican populations that are balanced with desired management objectives for Yellowstone cutthroat trout and other important public fish and wildlife resources.

In March, using snow fence and over-head bird line with flagging (fladry), Fish and Game excluded one half of the available nesting habitat from pelican access, on Willow Island, one of two nesting islands for the Blackfoot Reservoir pelican nesting colony.

On April 12, Fish and Game personnel released three badgers and two skunks on Gull Island, the second pelican nesting island, in Blackfoot Reservoir. The native predators were released on Gull Island before migratory birds began laying eggs.

Fish and Game is also conducting a multi-year research project on pelican feeding, dispersal patterns and predation effects on Yellowstone cutthroat trout in Blackfoot Reservoir and the upper Blackfoot River.

These management efforts comprise measured "adaptive management" to reduce the size of the Blackfoot Reservoir pelican nesting colony cautiously to a level that does not threaten the important Blackfoot Reservoir Yellowstone cutthroat trout fishery and other valuable hatchery rainbow trout fisheries in near-by reservoirs. Yellowstone cutthroat trout are classified as an Idaho species of special concern.

All Fish and Game pelican management actions are conducted under the guidelines of the pelican management plan and with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service review and coordination. All migratory bird species, including the American white pelican, are protected by federal and state laws. It is unlawful for the public to shoot migratory birds or to destroy their eggs or young.

For information about the pelican management plan, please contact the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Southeast Region, at 208-232-4703. The plan is available on Fish and Game's Web site at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/wildlife/plans/pelican.pdf.