Tipping the scales at 200 pounds or more, feral swine leave a path of destruction wherever they roam. As they compete with livestock for grazing rights, ruin crops, and trample Tribal heritage sites, these wild pigs pose an ever-increasing threat in Indian Country and in about 40 States, where they cause an estimated $1.5 billion in damage and management costs each year. Feral swine also have the potential to carry and spread more than 30 diseases, including several that could affect domestic swine herds and even humans.
Recognizing the many dangers feral swine represent, the U.S. Congress appropriated $20 million in fiscal year (FY) 2014 for a national effort—spearheaded by APHIS—to combat these harmful animals. At the moment, APHIS is navigating through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process to create a National Feral Swine Damage Management Plan. The first step—developing a proposed management approach as well as alternative approaches, using input from State, local, and Tribal partners and the public—has been completed. The next step—evaluating the potential effects each approach could have on the environment, in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)—is well on its way. Once complete, the draft EIS will be available to the Tribes and the public for review and comment. After APHIS considers the comments, it will publish a final EIS, select one of the management approaches, and implement it.
In the meantime, APHIS is working at the local level with the States and the States’ Tribal partners to manage feral swine damage. APHIS is interested in developing partnerships with others wanting to reduce problems caused by feral swine; collaborative projects developed through these partnering teams are considered annually for additional funding. A list of APHIS contacts information for each State’s WS office is available here. Interested Tribes may also contact APHIS’ Feral Swine National Damage Management Program Manager, Dale Nolte, at Dale.Nolte@aphis.usda.gov or (970) 266-6049.
To report feral swine activity on Tribal lands and request assistance, Tribes can contact State wildlife and agriculture officials or WS toll free at 1-866-4USDA-WS (1-866-487-3297).