Cleveland National Forest (CNF) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have released their environmental assessment (EA) for Feral Pig Management on CNF and BLM lands. Public comments will be accepted until July 18.
The growing number of feral pigs in the area are the result of either escaped or released domestic livestock, European wild boars or a hybridization of the two, according to the report. The pigs are a non-native and invasive species to California and North America.
Environmental and agricultural damage from feral pigs across the United States has become a substantial problem, costing an estimated $1.5 billion annually, states the EA.
The proposed Feral Pig Management Program project area encompasses over 600,000 acres, including the entire Cleveland National Forest—Palomar, Trabuco and Descanso ranger districts—the BLM lands roughly surrounding the Palomar and Descanso ranger districts, and the Capitan Grande Indian Reservation.
Areas of greatest pig concentration are the Upper San Diego River area and tributaries like Cedar and Boulder Creeks, and lands on Palomar Mountain adjacent to Lake Henshaw.
The EA notes that, since feral pigs became established on the CNF several years ago, they have been causing damage to biological, cultural and watershed resources by turning up the soil with their snouts while rooting for food and creating wallows in riparian and oak grassland habitats.
“Basically they’re like little rototillers,” said Joan Friedlander, district ranger for the Palomar Ranger District.
They compete with native wildlife and plants for habitat and resources, and prey on small native animals, according to the EA.
The report also states that feral pig populations can grow rapidly and dispersal can result in pigs quickly colonizing and populating new areas.
Proposed alternatives to remove feral pigs from public lands in the project area include trapping, aerial hunting with helicopters and ground hunting with dogs.
The complete Environmental Assessment is at www.fs.fed.us/nepa/fs-usda-pop.php/?project=33902.
For more information about the project or to request a hard copy of the report, email FeralPigComments@fs.fed.us or call 619-445-6235, ext 3457.
Comments may be emailed to FeralPigComments@fs.fed.us, faxed to 858-673-6192 or mailed to: Cleveland National Forest, Attn: Feral Pig Comments, 10845 Rancho Bernardo Road, Suite 200, San Diego, CA 92127.