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** Archived Article - please check for current information. **

Nov. 20, 2013

DNR begins program for removal of double-crested cormorants from Santee Cooper lakes

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will conduct two training sessions to qualify interested persons for the legal taking of double-crested cormorants from the Santee Cooper lakes. The training sessions are scheduled for Tuesday, January 7, 2014 beginning at 6 p.m. and Saturday, February 8th beginning at 2 p.m. Both training sessions will be held at the Santee Cooper Auditorium located at Santee Cooper headquarters at 1 Riverwood Drive, Moncks Corner, SC. Persons wishing to participate in the Santee Cooper cormorant removal program will be required to attend one of the two training sessions, complete an application and a DNR Volunteer Form. Pre-registration is not required.

The training will emphasize safety, area of action, species identification, weapon restrictions and program dates and hours. After participating in the training session, a permit will be issued to take double-crested cormorants. Only those that attend one complete training session will be granted a permit. All participants in the removal program will be required to have both a permit and valid South Carolina hunting license at all times during removal activities.Double-crested cormorant

DNR is authorized by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to designate agents for this action under the Depredation Order for Double-crested Cormorants to Protect Public Resources.

The effects of migrant cormorants that winter on the Santee Cooper Lakes include competition with the resident fish population for clupeid (herrings, shads, menhaden, etc.) forage, direct predation on out-migrating anadromous juvenile shad and herring, direct predation on returning anadromous adults while crowded below the System's dams, and direct predation on juvenile game fish and catfish. In addition, cormorant harassment has been linked to significant winter kills of adult redear sunfish too large to swallow. Permanent damage to flooded bald cypress and tupelo trees used for roosts has also been documented.

The taking of double-crested cormorants will be restricted to the legal boundaries of the Santee Cooper lakes and will be allowed only in areas where waterfowl hunters can legally hunt waterfowl. Double-crested cormorants may be taken beginning on February 2, 2014 through March 31, 2014. The legal hours for taking these birds begins 30 minutes before sunrise and ends 30 minutes after sunset. These birds are protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and State Laws and the taking of them or similar species without a permit or by methods, or in areas, not prescribed by permit is strictly prohibited.

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