The following is a press release issued by the City of Fort Bragg:
On September 13, 2021 the City Council adopted a new ordinance that takes meaningful action to protect the environment by prohibiting the feeding of wildlife in the City of Fort Bragg. With the opening of the various sections of the City’s Coastal Trail between 2015 and 2019, there has been a significant increase in the number of visitors recreating on the shoreline. While locals and visitors alike treasure the new access to the coast, there has been an increase in negative impacts to wildlife.
While it can be amusing to have a squirrel or a raven eat your french fry, it jeopardizes the health of that animal, and can lead to overcrowding of wildlife, destruction of their native ecosystems, and has potential for disease transmission. The Mendocino Coast Audubon Society explained that “the number of ravens attracted to our parks, especially the coastal trails, has escalated to the point where they are a threat to other bird populations.”
Ravens are well known for becoming nuisance birds, and will often destroy both public and personal property and prey on the nests of other shorebirds. When ravens become a serious nuisance, they have to be abated. Preventing this scenario was a leading driver for Council passing the ordinance prohibiting the feeding of wildlife.
According to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, “If wild animals have access to human food and garbage, unnatural foraging behavior can begin. Wildlife venturing into neighborhoods puts both people and animals at risk. Wildlife become susceptible to vehicle strikes, pesticide poisoning, injury from other wildlife, and disease. Public safety may be compromised.”
The ordinance passed by City Council also addresses birdfeeders. In 2020, salmonella spread through bird feeders killing song birds up and down the west coast. City Council included provisions that require bird feeders to be kept clean and at a reasonable distance from the ground. “We want people to be able to enjoy local wildlife, but we have to make sure it does not result in harm to, or decimation of wild animals,” says City Manager Tabatha Miller.
The full text of the new Municipal Code Chapter 7.18 Feeding of Wildlife can be found in Chapter 7.18 of the Fort Bragg Municipal Code. Questions regarding this information should be directed to the Community Development Department at (707) 961-2827, Ext. 118.