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There were 14 questions found in this category:

  1. Why are California sea lions a concern on the Columbia River?
    Since 2002, California sea lions in the Columbia River have been taking a significant toll on endangered and threatened stocks of salmon and steelhead listed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). Sea lion predation occurs throughout the lower river system, but the probl ...
  2. What salmon and steelhead runs are at risk from sea lion predation?
    Thirty-two wild salmon populations bound for the upper Columbia and Snake rivers are vulnerable to predation by sea lions immediately below dam. The population of greatest concern is the Upper Columbia spring chinook run, which is listed as “endangered” under the federal Endangered ...
  3. How do fish managers know that California sea lions are preying on these runs?
    Each year since 2002, the Army Corps of Engineers has stationed observers with spotting scopes and along the deck of Bonneville Dam to record the number of salmon and steelhead consumed by sea lions between January and May when ESA-listed runs are present. In 2002, they observed 31 sea lions co ...
  4. Are sea lions native to the Columbia River?
    California and Steller sea lions have roamed the Pacific coast for centuries, but were not seen entering the Columbia River in significant numbers until the 1980s. Steller sea lions, the larger of the two species, are now present at the mouth of the Columbia River year-round, but California se ...
  5. What steps have been taken to deter sea lions from preying on salmon?
    Each spring since 2005, boat-based "hazing" teams from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission have attempted to drive sea lions away from salmon and steelhead congregating b ...
  6. How many California sea lions have been removed from the lower Columbia River under federal authorization?
    From 2008-10, wildlife managers for WDFW and ODFW removed a total of 40 California sea lions that met the federal criteria for removal below the dam. Of that number, 10 were placed in zoos and aquariums, which has been the states’ first choice whenever an accredited facility can be found ...
  7. How do the live traps work?
    Sea lions naturally haul out of the water and rest on structures such as jetties and docks. They will also haul out into floating cages, which are used by wildlife biologists to capture these animals. In a typical operation, a biologist leaves the door to the trap open until one or more animals ...
  8. Have the state’s efforts to remove California sea lions been effective?
    There are some positive signs, but it is too soon to assess the success of the states' efforts. The good news is that the number of California sea lions feeding in the tailrace area has declined from a high of 104 animals in 2003 to 39 in 2012. The percentage of protected salmon and steelhead r ...
  9. Will the removal of specific California sea lions from the Columbia River impact the overall sea lion population?
    No. California sea lion numbers have grown rapidly since the 1970s and the species is now at "carrying capacity" - near the highest level the environment can sustain - according to wildlife biologists. The U.S. population of California sea lions is estimated at some 300,000 animals, all on the ...
  10. How many California sea lions have been removed from the lower Columbia River under federal authorization?
    From 2008-12, wildlife managers for WDFW and ODFW removed a total of 54 California sea lions in the Columbia River. Thirty-eight were euthanized by lethal injection and 11 were successfully placed in zoos and aquariums where space was available. The remaining five died during capture activities.
  11. Why can't sea lions be relocated to other natural areas?
    Previous efforts to relocate sea lions to other waters have been largely unsuccessful, because sea lions often return to the site where they were captured. The experience with sea lions at the Ballard Locks in Seattle in the late 1980s is a prime example: In 1988 and 1989, resource managers ca ...
  12. What would happen if California sea lions were allowed to continue foraging in the lower river?
    Left unchecked, California sea lions could undermine the recovery of threatened and endangered Columbia River salmon and steelhead. For some stocks, recovery efforts have been under way for decades, and funded with billions of dollars in public investment. Previous experience with California se ...
  13. Are other impacts to ESA-listed salmon and steelhead being addressed?
    Yes. There has been an extraordinary and growing effort in this region to protect and recover salmon and steelhead populations. Sport and commercial fisheries on the Columbia River are specifically designed to target hatchery-produced fish and spare threatened and endangered stocks. In most c ...
  14. How much does it cost to protect salmon and steelhead from sea lions below Bonneville Dam?
    Washington and Oregon fish and wildlife departments have each received annual grants of $100,000 to $150,000 from the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission to support hazing and sea lion removal below Bonneville Dam. In past years, each state has also contributed approximately $15,000 for ...