Could We "Haze" Ducks in Oiled Areas?

As discussed here, the federal government is spending $20 million on 150,000 acres of “alternative habitat” across eight states in an unprecedented effort to alter waterfowl migration routes. Most of the money will be spent on flooding grain fields, especially rice, and other wetland habitats. The problem with this plan (which the USFWS readily acknowledges) is it does nothing for the group of ducks most likely to encounter oil: divers.

Delta Waterfowl has speculated that waterfowl migrations are too tied into weather conditions for an artificial "short stopping" effort to be effective. In a Q&A-style press release, Delta scientific director Frank Rohwer argues that "hazing" ducks could be more effective than using food to attract them to safer havens.

Hazing would involve guarding the worst oil-contaminated areas and disturbing any ducks that try to land in them. The USDA and others do have experience using this technique to alter the distribution of certain bird species, but at this time the government has no plans for its implementation. From Delta's press release:

The compelling thing about hazing is that the technique would be very focused, because we would haze birds only where there’s a problem with oil contamination.  Hazing also has a record of working — we know we can disturb ducks and move them out of an area.  Hazing isn’t as easy as it may sound, but it sure can work.

Hazing should be a priority moving forward. Its focus would be narrow because we’d only be targeting at-risk ducks in the most impacted areas.

Hazing operations can also mobilize fairly quickly. Remember, Louisiana has a lot of out-of-work watermen, thanks to the Horizon incident, and we could use them to target sites that continue to have oil and settling ducks.

That sounds fairly reasonable to me. The government has allocated substantial funds to short-stopping efforts, indicating it's serious about saving waterfowl. Couldn't some of the money be spent putting watermen back to work shooing ducks from our most oil-impacted areas?

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