Cormorant control nixed in Senate budget
Written by Ludington Daily News   
Tuesday, 27 March 2007 11:31

The budget bill passed by the State Senate to fix the current fiscal year budget shortfall included a $839,400 cut to the Department of Natural Resources, included in which was $150,000 for cormorant control measures at the Ludington Pumped Storage Plant and at Beaver Island.

“That means no cormorant control if it passes,” said Tom Rozich, fisheries biologist supervisor, noting his frustration with the cut after finally securing the funding after years of repeated requests.
“I’m sure there’s a lot more pork in the budget and that ain’t pork. It’s our brown trout fishery; that’s our lake trout spawners,” Rozich said.

The Michigan legislature promised $150,000 to help cormorant control efforts statewide if the federal government matched the funds.

Jeff Cobb, legislative aide for Sen. Gerald Van Woerkom, R-Norton Shores, said Van Woerkom believes in cormorant control, but many new programs were the first to be axed.

“The new programs were the first ones on the chopping block,” Cobb said. “If we get things get turned around again, it’s a program we’d like to see start up. There were many we felt were good programs, but they were new and they (felt they could cut them).”

The bill must still be taken up by the House and signed by the governor to become law.

“We’re a long way off from any real conclusion on this,” Cobb said. “The idea behind us passing the budget was to get the conversation started that you can balance it by cutting.”

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