The USDA Wildlife Services Contract

coyoteThe Vanguard has acquired a copy of the contract between Yolo County Cities and the US Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services.

According to Deputy City Manager Kelly Stachowicz, the contract is between West Sacramento and the USDA.  Davis was not a direct party to the contract but billed by West Sacramento on a quarterly basis.

Ms. Stachowicz told the Vanguard in an email this morning that the city of Davis has already spoken with the city of West Sacramento and the USDA to let them know we will no longer be participating in the agreement.

According to the contract: “Wildlife Services’ overall goal is to maintain a biologically-sound IWDM program to assist property owners, businesses, private citizens, and governmental agencies in resolving wildlife damage problems and conduct control activities in accordance with applicable Federal, State and local laws and regulations. Assistance may be in the form of providing technical assistance or direct control activities. Recommendations and control activities will emphasize long term solutions and incorporate the Integrated Wildlife Damage Management approach.”

“The scope of this program is limited only by the financial resources allocated by the cooperator and APHIS-WS. Although successful elimination of any specific threat is not guaranteed, all reasonable efforts will be made to resolve or mitigate human-wildlife conflicts within financial and regulatory constraints.”

The following general field services will be provided: “(1) technical assistance through demonstration and instruction of wildlife damage prevention and/or control techniques; (2) predator identification and removal when livestock, crop or natural resource damage is verified; (3) nuisance wildlife removal when property damage is identified; (4) removal of wildlife displaying aggressive behavior or causing actual injury to county residents.”

To provide these basic services, APHIS-WS will:

1. Assign one Wildlife Specialist(s) for 5 staff-months averaging 40 hours per week distributed among direct control activities, technical assistance, APHIS-required administrative tasks and annual leave.

2. Procure and maintain a vehicle, tools, supplies, and other specialized equipment as deemed necessary by the State Director to accomplish the objectives identified in this plan.

3. Safely & professionally utilize approved wildlife damage management tools/equipment including firearms (including high-pressure air rifles), advanced optics, assorted snaring devices, trailing hounds, all-terrain vehicles, leg-hold traps for the protection of endangered species and public safety, cage-type & other specialized traps, deterrent methods/devices (including pyrotechnics), Environmental Protection Agency approved toxicants (including euthanasia drugs), night vision equipment and electronic calling devices.

Field Specialists will ensure that the most effective, efficient, and humane tools will be utilized and will conduct direct control operations in a safe manner.

Equipment will be maintained in good working order to help prevent accidents and/or hazardous situations.

4. Conduct all control activities with trained USDA-WS employees and volunteers.

Technical Assistance may be in the form of recommendations for implementing various non-lethal techniques. Official USDA pamphlets may be used to convey this information to the public.

Direct Control activities may include, but are not limited to the monitoring, trapping, dispersal, and shooting of known and potential predators or nuisance wildlife.

The contract continues: “The District Supervisor in the WS District Office will supervise this project. This project will be monitored by the State Director and administrative staff in Sacramento. The Cooperator will be kept advised on the status of this project on a regular basis.”

“APHIS-WS will cooperate with the California Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, County and local city governments, and other entities to ensure compliance with applicable Federal, State, and local laws and regulations.”

The cost of this will be billed based on usage but will not exceed $22,323.  The contract reads: “This figure represents only a portion of the actual cost required to deliver the program described in this Work/Financial Plan. The balance will be paid by APHIS-WS and other cooperators in California as part of a state-wide county cost-share arrangement which is predicated on consolidating & expending all unobligated funds to offset county cost-share costs.”

Itemized costs:

usda-contract

The contract concludes: “In accordance with the Debt Collection Improvement Act (DCIA) of 1996, bills issued by WS are due and payable within 30 days of receipt. The DCIA requires that all debts older than 120 days be forwarded to debt collection centers or commercial collection agencies for more aggressive action. Debtors have the option to verify, challenge and compromise claims, and have access to administrative appeals procedures which are both reasonable and protect the interests of the United States.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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4 Comments

  1. jrberg

    I’m curious as to whether the USDA office in Davis had anything to do with this situation. And the photo on the front page of the Enterprise today was a pretty grotesque reminder of where some farmers are on this issue.

  2. JustSaying

    Who are the signatories to this? Is it really a contract with USDA or an interagency cooperative agreement or some other mechanism to work together.

    Who is set up to make the decisions and give the orders about whether to engage in “direct control activities” against a particular wildlife target in a given jurisdiction? What is the City of Davis legal relationship in this lash up?

    How could the mayor and rest of the council spend an hour of raucous excitement with the public while under the mistaken impression that the city had a contract with USDA that we needed to cancel. Seems like the staff could have pulled together the correct information about our working relationship before the evening got underway.

    Davis, would you please post a link to the actual paperwork. What you’ve reported here doesn’t all that horrendous an arrangement. Is it possible this is just another “what we’ve got is failure to communicate” situation?

  3. David M. Greenwald

    Here you go Just Saying as I mentioned West Sac is the holder of the contract

    [img]http://davisvanguard.org/images/stories/USDA-signatories.png[/img]

  4. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Davis, would you please post a link to the actual paperwork. What you’ve reported here doesn’t all that horrendous an arrangement. Is it possible this is just another “what we’ve got is failure to communicate” situation?[/quote]

    I would suggest the problem with this contract lies with the terms as described herein:
    [quote]4. Conduct all control activities with trained USDA-WS employees and volunteers…

    Direct Control activities may include, but are not limited to the monitoring, trapping, dispersal, and shooting of known and potential predators or nuisance wildlife.

    The contract continues: “The District Supervisor in the WS District Office will supervise this project. This project will be monitored by the State Director and administrative staff in Sacramento. The Cooperator will be kept advised on the status of this project on a regular basis.”

    “APHIS-WS will cooperate with the California Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, County and local city governments, and other entities to ensure compliance with applicable Federal, State, and local laws and regulations.”[/quote]

    It gives complete discretion to the USDA to make decisions on whether to remove/euthanize/kill the wildlife, and says nothing about consulting with any of the cities paying for this service. This, despite our city having a hired wildlife expert who would know the city and its environs better than anyone.

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