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Columbian White-tailed Deer Translocation Project

The following comments were submitted in response to the open comment period described below.

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BPA is proposing to help fund the US Fish and Wildlife 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. A draft environmental assessment is available for public review and comment at the project website listed below. 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 US Fish and Wildlife 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 2018, and about 20 deer in 2019 depending on the success of the 2018 effort. Translocations would occur from December 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019 and December 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020, 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. Predator control would be implemented at the CSR prior to translocations, during the fawning period, and then only as needed.

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Close of comment:  11/23/2018

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