New DEC Mute Swan Management Plan Announced, GooseWatch NYC Asking Public for Comments

In December 2016, Governor Cuomo signed legislation into law sponsored by Assemblymember Cymbrowitz and Senator Avella to stop the DEC’s plan to kill New York’s mute swans. The new law established a two-year moratorium on the DEC’s mute swan management plans, and requires the DEC to hold at least two public hearings in areas with mute swan populations. Furthermore, any management plan that the DEC puts forward must: give priority to non-lethal management techniques; fully document the scientific basis for future population projections; demonstrate that the swans have caused actual damage to the environment or to other species; and fully document the scientific basis for current and projected environmental damage.

Nevertheless, now the DEC already appears to be moving forward with a deadly new mute swan management plan. Last week the DEC announced the release of its third draft mute swan management plan for New York State.

The DEC is accepting comments on the proposal and there will be three public hearings held in different parts of the state in the next month. This is not the management plan that we fought for and it is very important for advocates to comment on the proposal and attend these hearings.

Draft Management Plan:

Hearing Information:

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at 6 p.m.
Suffolk County Water Authority
260 Motor Parkway
Hauppauge, New York 11788

Tuesday, October 3, 2017 at 6 p.m.
Braddock Bay Pavilion
199 E. Manitou Road
Hilton, NY 14468

Thursday, October 19, 2017 at 6 p.m.
Region 3 NYSDEC
21 South Putt Corners Road
New Paltz, NY 12561

In addition, the public is encouraged to provide written comments on the revised management plan by writing to: Bureau of Wildlife – Mute Swan Plan, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754; or e-mailing (subject line – “Mute Swan Plan”). The public comment period will close on December 6, 2017.

A few key points:

– This draft reads like a kinder, gentler plan with a strong emphasis on reliance of non-lethal management techniques, but in truth the multiple vague and ambiguous statements regarding when lethal management will and will not be used are dangerous. The devil is in the details and this plan potentially allows hundreds of mute swans to be captured and killed every year – the DEC can use its discretion to kill swans at will.

– The DEC seems to finally understand that New Yorkers want mute swans protected not harmed, but their proposal is effectively sleight of hand. The DEC fails to grasp that swan advocates disagree with the entire premise of their plan. Despite DEC’s assertions, as a matter of science, mute swans are not an invasive species. Mute swans are a non-native resident established species, adored and admired by millions of NY citizens that pose no threat or danger to New Yorkers.

– Last December Gov. Cuomo signed a 2-year moratorium on the implementation of any mute swan plan unless a scientific basis is fully documented. Astonishingly, the DEC plan does not include any new science and relies on all the same dated non-regional studies as the previous two draft management plans.

New York’s mute swans need your advocacy again – thank you for speaking out.

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