Plan to poison mice overunning the Farallones under review

Opponents worry about toxic spread to wildlife and environment

By Bay City News

The California Coastal Commission on Thursday is expected to consider a federal plan to drop poison bait on the Farallon Islands to destroy an invasion of mice.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed the aerial dispersal of the rodenticide Brodifacoum in bait pellets to eradicate the house mice that have overrun the Southeast Farallon Island.

The plan’s proponents, such as U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and the Marin Audubon Society, say the mice have had significant impact on other wildlife on the islands, which are home to the largest seabird breeding colony in the lower 48 states.

Feinstein, in a letter to the Coastal Commission, said the use of the rodenticide “has been proven to be safe and effective on nearly 700 islands worldwide, including on California’s Anacapa Island in the Channel Islands National Park.”

The Marin Audubon Society said it would “have long-term benefits, restoring the island to a more natural state.”

However, other environmental groups have said the poison drop will cause too many problems to the Farallon Islands’ ecosystem.

“This deadly poison would become part of the food web, killing exponentially more animals than it could possibly save,” Lisa Levinson of the San Rafael-based group In Defense of Animals said in a statement.

The California Coastal Commission will consider the proposal at its meeting Thursday that begins at 9 a.m. The full agenda for the meeting, which will be held via live-stream, can be found at https://www.coastal.ca.gov/meetings/agenda/#/2021/12 with the item on the Farallon Islands as 11b on the agenda.

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