Several hundred cormorants currently nest in the center span of the Yaquina Bay Bridge. The current protection and repair project is underway and crews will be working in the center of the bridge this summer Sound cannons and pyrotechnics will be used to deter cormorants from damaging the structure with their droppings and nests. The City of Newport has been advised by ODOT that the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service or APHIS part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, plans to start cormorant bird testing activities on the US101 Yaquina Bay Bridge on Friday, 3/25/22.
APHIS will be setting up a noise cannon on Friday and testing some pyrotechnics. After that they will be out there a few times a week to deal with nests and use tools such as pyrotechnics and lasers. The noise cannon will be automated to go off for a couple of hours around dusk each evening. The efforts will be concentrated in the section of bridge over the bay and not near the shore. The Coast Guard has been notified and will be putting out a notice to mariners (Local Notice to Mariners) (LNM). There will be no effect upon marine navigation. ODOT is hoping by providing information it will prevent unnecessary concerns and 911 calls.
Staff from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will use a mixture of light and sound to discourage birds from nesting on the bridge. Techniques include sound cannons that make a loud bang noise and small projectiles that make different noises combined with flashes of light. Bridge travelers will not be able to see crews at work, but could hear it. People nearby may see people on the bridge underdeck using the equipment and see birds scattering. The exact timing, frequency and techniques involved will be adjusted as the work proceeds and we learn more about how the cormorants respond. Crews may be seen on the bridges at night.