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Letter: Mute swan study severely flawed

A swan makes its way through the waters

A swan makes its way through the waters off Stony Brook. (Aug. 22, 2013) Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

The state Department of Environmental Conservation asserts that its mute swan management plan, calling for the eradication of these swans from New York by 2025, had the support of the National Audubon Society ["NY rethinks plan to destroy swans," News, March 1].

However, Four Harbors Audubon, a local chapter of Audubon New York, is opposed to the DEC mute swan management plan. We believe that the DEC has come to invalid conclusions, has misrepresented data analyses, has done poor sampling, and has frequently relied on dated and out-of-state references. The bottom line is that the report did a poor job of presenting data and correlating it to a valid conclusion.

There was no overall increase in the mute swan population, no significant devastation to aquatic vegetation, a lack of evidence regarding aggression toward other nesting waterfowl and only anecdotal references of aggressive behavior toward people.

Four Harbors Audubon recognizes the relative stability of the mute swan populations on Long Island and in the Hudson Valley. We support a regional approach for the management of mute swans in our state.

Elaine Maas

Susan Krause

St. James

Editor's note: The writers are the education coordinator and president, respectively, of the Four Harbors Audubon Society of Smithtown, Stony Brook, Port Jefferson and Mount Sinai.