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Lawmaker Criticizes State's Mute Swan Plan

Two Mute Swans swimming in Long Island Sound.
Two Mute Swans swimming in Long Island Sound. Photo Credit: William Haffey

A Queens senator wants to protect New York's swans.

Sen. Tony Avella (D-Queens) has been critical of the state's Department of Environmental Conservation plans to control the mute swan population. In 2016, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into a law a bill imposing a two-year moratorium of the plan.

In September, the DEC released another Mute Swan Management Plan , which Avella harshly criticized. He commissioned a study which he said questioned many of DEC's claims for why the swans had to be controlled.

"Mute swans are splendid beautiful birds that have been in our state for more than 150 years and they are beloved by many," Avella said. "They must be allowed to live in their various suitable habitats throughout the State. It is time for the DEC to abandon its attempts to implement this unjustified program, and redirect its time, energy and resources to other environmental programs that are justified and genuinely protective of the environment.

The state has said mute swans can cause problems including aggressive behavior towards people, destruction of submerged aquatic vegetation, displacement of native wildlife species, degradation of water quality, and potential hazards to aviation.  DEC's plan would not make any major reduction in the downstate swan population.

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