BPA has decided to help fund the US Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to translocate up to 50 Columbian white-tailed deer (CWTD) from an Island in the Columbia River to conservation lands in Columbia County, Oregon.
The Service would translocate up to 50 deer from Tenasillahe Island to a 935-acre parcel (called the Columbia Stock Ranch or CSR) that is being managed by Columbia Land Trust for habitat and wildlife conservation. The CSR is located on the Oregon side of the Columbia River approximately 32 miles north of Portland, Oregon. The translocations would help improve fawn survival, help establish a new subpopulation of the Endangered Species Act-listed Columbian white-tailed deer, and help BPA meet its commitments under the Northwest Power Act.
The translocations are proposed over a two year period—about 30 deer would be moved in 2019, and about 20 deer in 2020 depending on the success of the 2019 effort. Translocations would occur from December 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020, and December 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, after CWTD breeding seasons each year.
Capture and translocation would occur three to five times per week. Approximately 25-to-33 percent of the deer relocated would be males and 67-to-75 percent females (reflecting the sex ratio of this population). Capture techniques would include corral traps, drop netting, darting, and drive netting. Deer would be transported in specially-made crates by vehicle and boat. The Service would not separate fawns from their maternal parents in these translocations.
Monitoring of translocated deer would continue through 2021— monitoring would include the placement of Geographic Positioning System collars on all the does. Bucks will be fitted with VHF collars and monitored at least once per week for the first 6 months post-release and 2-4 times per month 6-12 months post-release.
To understand the potential environmental impacts of this proposal, BPA prepared an environmental assessment (EA) following the procedures of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The EA analyzes the proposal, as well as a no action alternative in which BPA would not fund the Service to translocate Columbian white-tailed deer. The EA describes anticipated impacts to natural and human resources and identifies mitigation measures to help avoid or minimize impacts. During this process, BPA worked with landowners; tribes; Federal, state, and local agencies; and interest groups.
The Proposed Schedule for the environmental review is as follows: