NOAA Reauthorizes Killing of
by Scott Learn
Oregon, Washington and Idaho will be allowed to resume killing California sea lions at Bonneville Dam this spring, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said today.
The agency authorized removal of up to 92 sea lions annually through May 2016 but estimates that 25 to 30 will be taken each year. The authorization allows taking only sea lions having a "significant negative impact" on salmon and steelhead.
Bonneville Dam, the first dam on the Columbia, is an ideal spot for the sea lions to feed in the spring as spring chinook and steelhead congregate to climb fish ladders, and an estimated one-third of the salmon and steelhead eaten are listed under the Endangered Species Act, NOAA says. Biologists estimate that California sea lions have eaten from 1.5 percent to 4 percent of returning adult salmon at the dam each year.
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