California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Coastal Commission to Consider Plan to Drop Rodenticide on Farallon Islands

Dan McMenamin/Bay City News

A federal plan to drop poisoned bait to kill an invasive mouse species in the Farallones Islands off the coast of San Francisco will be the topic of a California Coastal Commission meeting Thursday.

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

The plan has proponents such as U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and the Marin Audubon Society who say the mice have caused significant impact on other wildlife on the islands, which are home to the largest seabird breeding colony in the lower 48 U.S. 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," while 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 here with the item on the Farallon Islands as 11b on the agenda.

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