Mar 09,2007 00:00
SALEM - For the third straight year, the
Using non-lethal deterrents such as crackershells, rubber buckshot and underwater firecrackers, crews will be working from boats seven days per week through May 31 in an effort to drive the marine mammals away from fish congregated below the dam. The hazing area extends six miles downstream from the dam to Marker 85
“As in previous years, our goal is to change these animals’ behavior,” said Jeff Koenings, director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). “Predation by sea lions on fish in the tailrace of Bonneville Dam is a fairly recent phenomenon, and we don’t want any more of them to learn that behavior. We want them to recognize that this is not a good place to find an easy meal.”
Like last year, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and WDFW will conduct the hazing in cooperation with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) --the agency that is funding the ESA salmon/steelhead protection effort--, U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services Program, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, operators of the dam. Hazing methods will remain the same as last year, but this year’s seven-day-per-week schedule marks a significant escalation in the effort to deter predation by sea lions, said Sandra Jonker, regional WDFW wildlife manager.
“We want to give non-lethal deterrence every chance to succeed,” Jonker said.
“In addition to the impact on salmon and steelhead, we remain very concerned about the predation on white sturgeon,” said Charlie Corrarino, ODFW Conservation and Recovery Program Manager. “Broodstock male and female sturgeon are being preyed upon at an alarming rate,” Corrarino said.
In February, for the second year,
Upper Columbia River spring chinook are listed as “endangered” under the ESA; lower Columbia River chinook and steelhead, middle Columbia River steelhead, Snake River spring/summer chinook, and Snake River Basin steelhead are all listed as “threatened.” Concerned about predation on those populations, fish managers in