Double-crested Cormorant-Santee Cooper Removal Program
The Santee Cooper Lakes Double-Crested Cormorant Removal Program will be implemented by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) beginning February 2014. The taking of double-crested cormorants is authorized under the Depredation Order for Double-crested Cormorants to Protect Public Resources (50 CFR 21.41), which allows for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to designate agents for this action.
The taking of 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. Permittees will be authorized to remove cormorants from February 2, 2014 through March 1, 2014 from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.
Why do we need a removal program?
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 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.
How can I participate?
All participants in the Santee Cooper Lakes Double-Crested Cormorant Removal Program must be permitted by the DNR. To obtain a permit, all participants must be 16 years or older, attend one of three scheduled training seminar, complete an application and DNR volunteer form, and fillout the Double Crested Cormorant Removal Report Form PDF on all takings by March 30, 2014.
Please mail or e-mail the completed form to:
P.O. Box 167
Columbia, SC 29202
|Tuesday, January 7, 2014||6:00 PM||Santee Cooper Auditorium located at Santee Cooper headquarters at 1 Riverwood Drive, Moncks Corner, SC|
|Tuesday, January 14, 2014||6:00 PM||Central Carolina Technical College Auditorium at 3351 Sumter Highway, Manning, SC|
|Saturday, February 8, 2014||2:00 PM||Santee Cooper Auditorium located at Santee Cooper headquarters at 1 Riverwood Drive, Moncks Corner, SC|
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.
Permit Conditions - - as of 1/30/2014
- This permit allows the person indicated to take Double Crested Cormorants (DCCOs).
- A signed copy of this permit must be on the person to whom it is issued while taking or attempting to take DCCOs. All persons in the party taking or attempting to take DCCOs must have an individually issued permit on their person.
- The period for taking DCCOs under authority of this permit will begin 30 minutes before sunrise on February 2, 2014 and end 30 minutes after sundown on March 1, 2014.
- DCCOs may be taken only from 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset each day.
- DCCOs may be taken within the boundaries of Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie but only in areas where waterfowl hunting is allowed, not within 200 yards of any residence, not on SCDNR WMAs or on National Wildlife Refuges. See map below that indicates open and closed areas.
- Shotguns are allowed, possession of other firearms is prohibited. Shotguns are not required to be plugged and there is no shell limit.
- Nontoxic shells are required; possession of toxic or lead shot while taking or attempting to take DCCOs is prohibited. Buckshot is prohibited.
- Under this authority of this permit, the taking of or attempting to take cormorants from any motorized watercraft is not allowed unless the boat is stationery or is moving at an idle and "no wake" speed. The operator of any moving boat is not allowed to take or attempt to take DCCOs.
- Permitees must make a reasonable effort to retrieve carcasses. Carcasses must be properly disposed through donation to museums or other scientific or educational institutions, burned or buried. Improper disposal is a violation of permit conditions.
- Permitees must have attended at least one training session where they have completed and submitted an SCDNR Volunteer Form, be 16 years of age or older, and must possess a valid state hunting license at the meeting and on their person while taking or attempting to take DCCOs under this permit. Permitees must report the number of DCCOs taken PDF to the SCDNR, as well as the number of hours spent taking DCCOs by March 30, 2014. Failure to report will result in denial of a permit in subsequent years.
- Cannot consume, possess, or be under the influence of alcohol while engaged in permit activity.
- SCDNR Law Enforcement Officers must demand immediate surrender of this permit for violations of the permit conditions. When this request is made, the permit shall be revoked.
- Failure to comply with these permit conditions, taking or attempting to take DCCOs without a permit, or taking or attempting to take species other than DCCOS shall result in immediate revocation of this permit and the person may be charged with violation of the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and/or S.C. Code of Laws, Section 50-11-10, as amended.
Commonly Mistaken Birds
- Lake Marion:
means all waters of the Santee River and its tributaries impounded by the Lake Marion Dam including the flooded backwater areas within the Santee Cooper project area in Calhoun and Sumter Counties.
- Lake Moultrie:
means all waters impounded by the Pinopolis Dam including the Diversion Canal and those waters of the Re-diversion Canal within the Santee Cooper project area.
Please Note: All areas that are closed to waterfowl hunting are closed to the taking of cormorants.
- Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie Prohibited Waterfowl Hunting Areas Map (Adobe PDF - file size 1.65MB)
- Driving Directions to Training Sessions
- From Moncks Corner, SC
- From East Main Street, cross over Highway 52 to stay on East Main Street Extension. Turn left on Rembert C. Dennis Blvd (Highway 52 Bypass North). Travel approximately 0.7 miles and turn into Santee Cooper Headquarters.
- From Santee, SC
- Travel Highway 6 East into Moncks Corner. Highway 6 will become East Main Street in Moncks Corner. Cross over Highway 52 to stay on East Main Street Extension and turn left on to Rembert C. Dennis Blvd (Highway 52 Bypass North). Travel 0.7 miles to Santee Cooper Headquarters on your right.
- Directions to Manning, Central Carolina Technical College
- The FE Dubose Campus is located off Highway 5215 just pas I-95 on the right.
- From Moncks Corner, SC
Some of the files above are provided in Adobe® Acrobat® (PDF) format. Adobe® Reader® is required to open these files and is available as a free download from the Adobe® Web site.