SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The California Coastal Commission has approved a plan to poison invasive mice threatening rare seabirds on the Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge.
The agency that regulates California’s coastline voted 5-3 Thursday night to approve a plan to drop about 3000 pounds (1,360 kilograms) of poisoned bait from helicopters onto the rocky islands off the San Francisco coast that are home to hundreds of thousands of breeding birds.
The move still will require approval from the regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and even then it probably would be at least two years before the program gets underway, officials said.
The Farallon Islands refuge is home to an estimated 300,000 breeding seabirds, including the rare ashy storm-petrel. But officials say the population is threatened by mice that first arrived on the islands aboard ships more than a century ago.