STATEMENT OF PEGGY O'DELL, DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR OPERATIONS, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES, CONCERNING S. 156, TO ALLOW FOR THE HARVEST OF GULL EGGS BY THE HUNA TLINGIT PEOPLE WITHIN GLACIER BAY NATIONAL PARK IN THE STATE OF ALASKA.
April 23, 2013
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to present the views of the Department of the Interior on S. 156, the Huna Tlingit Traditional Gull Egg Use Act.
This legislation provides for the restoration of an important cultural connection to Glacier Bay by the Huna Tlingit, and provides for the environmentally preferred action identified in our studies. As such, the Department supports enactment of S. 156 with an amendment.
Glacier Bay National Park is the traditional homeland of the Huna Tlingit who harvested eggs at gull rookeries in Glacier Bay prior to, and after the park was established in 1925. Egg collection was curtailed in the 1960s as Migratory Bird Treaty Act and National Park Service (NPS) regulations prohibited the activity.
The Glacier Bay National Park Resource Management Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-455) directed the NPS to study whether gull egg collection could resume without impairing the biological sustainability of the gull population in the park. The NPS conducted the study, wrote an environmental impact statement, and in August 2010 issued a record of decision which found that collection under certain conditions would be sustainable. Those conditions, addressing the frequency of harvest and an annual harvest plan, are reflected in S. 156.
Section 2 (b) of the bill contains a condition for the Secretary of the Interior to develop an annual harvest plan jointly with the Hoonah Indian Association. To clarify that the Hoonah Indian Association's role is purely advisory, we recommend the attached amendment.
The Department appreciates the opportunity to testify on this matter. I will be glad to answer any questions.
AMENDMENT TO S. 156
On p. 2, line 8, strike "jointly by the Secretary and the Hoonah Indian Association." and insert "by the Secretary in consultation with the Hoonah Indian Association.".