Comments Sought on Draft EIS for Feral Swine Damage Control

By William H. Clay, Deputy Administrator, USDA APHIS Wildlife Services

Comments Sought on Draft EIS for Feral Swine Damage Control Image Credit: Wildlife Services

Feral swine have greatly expanded their range over the last 30 years. At the same time, the annual estimated damage they cause, plus the costs of control, has risen to $1.5 billion. This invasive species can damage crops, kill young livestock and wildlife, destroy property, harm natural resources, and carry diseases that threaten other animals as well as people and water supplies.

In recognition of these threats, Congress has authorized the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to conduct a national program to reduce feral swine damage.  Before making a decision on the best way to manage feral swine damage, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires that APHIS evaluate the potential impacts associated with various strategies.

Stakeholders at all levels are invited to review and comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the APHIS Feral Swine Damage Management Program. APHIS anticipates that EPA will publish a notice that APHIS’s DEIS is available for public review in the Federal Register in December. A copy of the DEIS can be reviewed here. Comments will be accepted through February 2, 2015.

The Wildlife Society has a Position Statement that addresses feral swine populations in North America.  We actively support the efforts of USDA APHIS Wildlife Services and other agencies to control the spread and growth of this invasive species through science-based management actions.

The DEIS considers five alternatives to address damage throughout the United States and territories wherever feral swine are found.  All alternatives would be implemented consistent with local objectives for managing feral swine.

APHIS has worked on the analysis with cooperating agencies including USDA’s Forest Service; the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (USDI) Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and National Invasive Species Council; the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies; and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. USDI’s Fish and Wildlife Service and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service have also participated in the preparation of the DEIS.

APHIS will accept comments either through Federal eRulemaking Portal or in writing to Project Managers, Feral Swine EIS, USDA APHIS-WS, 732 Lois Drive, Sun Prairie, WI 53590. For further information, please contact Dr. Kimberly Wagner, Staff Wildlife Biologist, Wildlife Services, APHIS, 732 Lois Drive, Sun Prairie, WI 53590; (608) 837-2727.

Wildlife Services is a Strategic Partner of The Wildlife Society