Tag Archives: Oregon

Study Shows 74 Percent Loss Of Columbia Tidal Wetlands, 85 Percent Up And Down West Coast

THE FOLLOWING IS A NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION STORY

An unprecedented survey has revealed the loss of about 85 percent of historical tidal wetlands in California, Oregon, and Washington. The report, published in PLOS ONE, also highlights forgotten estuary acreage that might now be targeted for restoration.

Where West Coast rivers reach the sea, estuaries serve as critical nurseries for juvenile salmon and steelhead as they make the transition from freshwater to the ocean. They are among the most dynamic and productive habitats known, also supporting migratory birds and a variety of other fish, shellfish, and terrestrial wildlife.

A FEDERAL GRAPHIC SHOWS THE AMOUNT OF TIDAL WETLANDS UP AND DOWN THE WEST COAST, INCLUDING IN SOME OF THE REGION’S MOST IMPORTANT SALMON SYSTEMS. (NOAA)

A team of scientists applied new technologies and data to identify and estimate the historic reach of nearly 450 West Coast estuaries. Their results show that the estuaries historically extended far beyond where they exist now. More than a century of development has erased roughly 85 percent of original vegetated estuarine wetlands, especially around major river deltas.

San Francisco Bay has lost about 85 percent of its original vegetated tidal wetlands, the study found. The Columbia River estuary has lost about 74 percent. While other scientists have estimated losses for these and other well-studied estuaries, this is the first time researchers have applied consistent methods across all 450 estuaries of the contiguous U.S. West Coast.

Mapping Reveals Restoration Opportunities

“Given how valuable estuaries are to so many different species, it’s important to understand how much they have changed and what that means for fish and wildlife that depend on them,” said Correigh Greene, research biologist at NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle and coauthor of the new study.

The lost estuary habitat includes areas that were long ago diked and drained for agriculture, and forested wetlands that had not been widely recognized as estuary acreage, said Laura Brophy, lead author of the study and director of the Estuary Technical Group at the Institute for Applied Ecology in Corvallis, Oregon. Identifying such areas may open new opportunities for restoration of estuary habitat that otherwise might go overlooked.

BEFORE AND AFTER IMAGES FROM THE TILLAMOOK ESTUARY PARTNERSHIP SHOW THE EFFECT OF REMOVING LEVEES AND TIDE GATES NEAR THE MOUTH OF THE TRASK RIVER. (TILLAMOOK ESTUARY PARTNERSIHP VIA NMFS)

“By folding in these areas that may not have been recognized as part of estuaries, we have a better idea of just how important and extensive these estuaries were,” Brophy said. “Now we can see new restoration opportunities that people didn’t realize existed.”

The study’s high-resolution mapping also highlights low-elevation areas at greatest risk of flooding as the sea level rises with climate change. Tidal wetland restoration in these vulnerable areas can re-establish natural processes like sediment delivery. This will help these wetlands remain productive into the future.

Estuaries Once Covered 2 Million Acres

The scientists combined precise elevation mapping known as LIDAR with NOAA water level modeling to establish the extent of tides that define estuary habitat. Based on these maps, they estimated that all West Coast estuaries once covered nearly 2 million acres. This is an area nearly three times the size of the state of Rhode Island.

Scientists have data on the historic and current wetlands in 55 of the larger estuaries. Those estuaries have lost about 85 percent of their original vegetated wetlands. These 55 estuaries represent about 97 percent of historical estuary area on the West Coast, so their losses reflect almost all of the estuary losses.

Since Brophy has studied estuaries for years, she found the losses “dismaying but not surprising.” She said the good news is that fish and wildlife that live in estuaries must be adaptable because of the ever-changing tidal environment. She says “if you give them the chance to move back in, they will literally jump at the opportunity.”

The authors of the study include researchers from NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center, the Institute for Applied Ecology, Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, The Nature Conservancy, Moss Landing Marine Labs, and Pacific Spatial Solutions. The project was coordinated by the Pacific Marine and Estuarine Fish Habitat Partnership.

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$100,000 RMEF Grant Awarded For WSU Elk Hoof Disease Research Facility

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant to Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine to assist with construction of its elk hoof disease research facility. Construction began in May on campus in Pullman, Washington.

CONSTRUCTION OF A FACILITY FOR RESEARCHERS LOOKING INTO ELK HOOF DISEASE BEGAN THIS PAST MAY AT WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY IN PULLMAN AND FUNDING IN PART CAME FROM A $100,000 GRANT FROM THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION. (HENRY MORE JR., WSU/BCU, VIA RMEF)

“Hoof disease is affecting more and more elk in the Pacific Northwest,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “This facility will give researchers a hands-on opportunity to better determine its cause as well as why and how it spreads.”

The $1.2 million, state-of-the-art structure is the only such operation of its kind in the world and will house captive elk needed to study the disease in a secure, controlled environment. It will cover four acres and include 10 isolation pens, a handling facility and two 1.5-acre holding pastures.

Based within the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, and with the oversight of WSU’s Environmental Health and Safety and animal care programs, the facility will provide optimal compliance with biosecurity and animal care and use regulation.

“I am eager to get started with research on captive elk that will be housed in the facility,” said veterinarian Margaret Wild, the lead scientist for the program. “RMEF’s generous contribution could not have come at a better time during construction. This is the first grant we’ve received to supplement our funding and it makes it apparent the organization and its members, along with WSU, are dedicated to ensuring elk herds remain healthy and viable for future generations.”

Elk hoof disease is known in the scientific community as Treponeme-associated hoof disease or TAHD. Biologists confirmed the disease in elk herds across much of southwest Washington as well as southern Oregon and western Idaho.

Findings from research conducted at the facility will assist wildlife agencies to better manage the impacts of hoof disease in elk populations.

“We had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Margaret Wild, lead scientist during a visit to RMEF headquarters. We look forward to working with her and her staff to learn more about this disease,” added Henning.

RMEF provided funding in the past to assist the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife with hoof disease testing and research.

In 2019 alone, RMEF so far donated more than $1 million in research funding for the benefit of elk-related science.

Free Fishing Weekend This Sat., Sun. In Oregon

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

It’s free to fish, crab or clam in Oregon on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 17-18.

 During these two days, no fishing licenses or tags (including a Combined Angling Tag or Columbia River Basin Endorsement) are required to fish, crab or clam anywhere in Oregon for both residents and non-residents.

“FAMILY TIME IS WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT,” SAYS TOM SCHNELL, HERE WITH THE REWARDS OF A RECENT DAD-DAUGHTER RHONNA DAY AT PAULINA LAKE, AND YOU COULD ENJOY TIME ON THE WATER WITH YOUR LOVED ONES DURING OREGON’S AUG. 17-18 FREE FISHING WEEKEND. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Although no licenses or tags are required, all other fishing regulations apply including closures, bag limits and size restrictions. If you are fishing for salmon, steelhead or marine species like rockfish, remember to check the Fishing section of the Recreation Report for the zone you want to fish to find the latest regulations.

Look for the latest on fishing conditions and regulations at ODFW’s Weekly Recreation Report, which is updated every Wednesday. Trout and warmwater fishing are ideal for beginners; see the trout stocking schedule to find out when your local pond was stocked with hatchery rainbow trout.

If you’re in the mountains, combine a hike with a fishing trip and hike in to one of Oregon’s higher elevation mountain lakes. These stay cooler in the summer which keeps trout on the bite. See ODFW’s guide to Fishing Oregon’s hike-in lakes.  

If you are on the coast this weekend, ocean fishing for rockfish, tuna and coho salmon has been good. Surfperch can be targeted from beaches and jetties by those staying on shore (see How-to fish for surfperch). Or try crabbing, which is currently open along the entire Oregon coast (reminder to always double check ODA shellfish restrictions before clamming or crabbing).

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Deschutes Mouth Plume In Columbia Again Closed To All Fishing

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Per direction from the Fish and Wildlife Commission at their Aug. 2 meeting, ODFW is closing all fishing (including catch-and-release) in the Columbia River around the mouth of the Deschutes River and in the lower Deschutes River from the mouth upstream to markers placed on the downstream end of Moody Rapids, from Monday, Aug. 12 through Sept. 15.

The closure is to protect wild summer steelhead and follows several other regulatory steps ODFW and WDFW have taken to protect wild steelhead this year. Returns of ESA-listed wild Snake River steelhead this year are forecasted to be similar to the extremely poor return of 2017, and there are ongoing concerns about the potential effects of angling on wild steelhead that may gather in cooler water near tributary mouths like the Deschutes.

The boundary of the angling closure is defined by a line projecting from the South Channel Range “B” marker located approximately 3/4-mile upstream of the mouth of the Deschutes, downstream through Red Buoy Marker “4”, and terminating at the flashing red USCG light #2 on the Oregon shore downstream of the mouth. (See map on Columbia River Zone fishing regulations page.)

The Commission directed ODFW to take similar steps to close the mouth of the Deschutes last year. Based on additional discussions with the public and regional biologists, the boundary of this year’s closure has been refined to reduce the impact on Chinook fishing opportunities.

This action follows a number of regulatory steps ODFW and WDFW have taken to protect wild steelhead during Columbia River summer and fall fisheries this year. Bag limits in the Columbia River were reduced to one hatchery steelhead per day for the month of July. For fall fisheries, all steelhead (hatchery and wild) must be released during the following periods:

  • Aug. 1-31 from Buoy 10 upstream to The Dalles Dam,
  • Aug. 1 – Sept. 30 from The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam,
  • Sept. 1 – Oct. 31 from John Day to McNary Dam, and
  • Oct. 1 – Nov. 30 from McNary Dam upstream to the OR/WA state line.

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Oregon Deer/Elk Pee Hunting Scent Ban Starts In 2020

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

The 2019 Oregon State Legislature has passed a bill that bans the possession and use of deer and elk urine scent lures that contain or are derived from any cervid urine beginning Jan. 1, 2020. HB 2294 was sponsored by Rep. Witt (D-Clatskanie) and Rep. Brock Smith (R-Port Orford) and is meant to reduce the threat of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) to the state’s deer, elk and moose populations.

TO REDUCE THE RISK OF DEER CONTRACTING CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE, THE OREGON LEGISLATURE BANNED URINE SCENT LURES THAT SOME HUNTERS USE TO TRY AND ATTRACT BUCKS DURING THE RUT. (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)

These urine scent lures are used by some hunters. The typical scent lure mimics a female during breeding season and can attract a bull or buck to a hunter’s position.

Oregon’s ban is in keeping with a recommendation from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), urging states to ban cervid based urine products to limit the spread of CWD. These products are also banned in several other states including Alaska and Louisiana.

Hunters or businesses who have these products should safely dispose of them by bringing them to an ODFW district office. ODFW staff will arrange for any scents collected to be incinerated in an 1800 degree oven, a temperature known to kill the prion that causes CWD.

“It’s important that these products are not poured down a drain or on the ground when they are discarded,” said Colin Gillin, ODFW wildlife veterinarian. “We want to limit the prion that causes the disease from being deposited on the landscape.”

About Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

CWD has never been detected in Oregon’s wildlife but has been found in free-ranging deer and elk in 26 other states including several western states. The disease is caused by a protein called a prion that damages the brain of infected animals, causing progressive neurological disease and loss of body condition. CWD is untreatable and always fatal.

The prions can spread through the animal’s body fluids (including urine, feces and saliva) and through nose-to-nose contact between infected animals. Prions shed through bodily fluids can bind to soil minerals and remain infectious for long periods in the environment, spreading to new animals for years as deer and elk come into contact with infected soil and possibly plants containing the prions.

Urine sold commercially as a scent lure is collected from captive cervid facilities. Nationally, CWD continues to be found in captive cervid facilities and animals from these facilities are considered to be at higher risk for CWD for several reasons: Captive cervids are often moved extensively among facilities between and within states including states that have CWD; they are artificially concentrated behind fences which can more easily spread prions; the testing of captive animals may be limited; some high fence shooter buck herds are not tested at all; and equipment that may be contaminated with the prion when shared between herds and farms provides a risk factor for moving CWD without moving animals.

ODFW has been monitoring the state’s deer and elk for CWD for years by testing harvested animals at checkpoints during hunting seasons and roadkill carcasses, but has never detected CWD within Oregon. The few captive deer and elk facilities in Oregon also test for CWD and have never detected it. The state has also banned the import of any deer, elk, caribou or moose part containing central nervous system tissue where the prions exist (such as whole heads or spinal columns) into Oregon.

For more information about CWD, visit https://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/health_program/chronic_wasting/

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24 Free Youth Pheasant Hunts Coming Up In Oregon; Sign-ups Open

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Youth hunters (age 17 and under) can sign up now for ODFW’s free pheasant hunts happening around the state in September.

MEAGAN JANSEN OF TIGARD WITH A PHEASANT SHE BAGGED AT AN E.E. WILSON WILDLIFE AREA YOUTH PHEASANT HUNT PUT ON BY ODFW. (ODFW)

The events are being held in Central Point, Corvallis, Eugene, Irrigon/Umatilla, John Day, Klamath Falls, La Grande, Madras, Ontario, Portland/Sauvie Island and The Dalles (Tygh Valley). New this year, ODFW has also added a youth pheasant hunt at the new Coquille Valley Wildlife Area in Coquille.

See dates below and register online (see Register for a Class/Youth Upland Hunts) or at an ODFW office that sells licenses. (Registration is not available at license sale agents.) The youth hunter or their parent will need to be logged in to the youth’s account to register online. The deadline to register is the Thursday before the hunt.

ODFW and partners stock pheasants at these special hunts that give youth a head start on regular pheasant seasons, which don’t begin until October. Quail and dove also can be hunted. Volunteers often bring their trained hunting dogs to some events and hunt with participants. Some events begin with a shotgun skills clinic, so participants can practice clay target shooting before hunting.

These events are open only to youth who have passed hunter education. (ODFW has hunter education classes and field days available before the events.) An adult 21 years of age or older must accompany the youth to supervise but may not hunt.

“Youth pheasant hunts are a great chance for young hunters to find early success and put the lessons learned in hunter education classes to work in the field,” says Brandon Harper, ODFW hunter education coordinator.

ODFW stresses safety during the hunts. Both hunter and supervisor must wear a hunter orange hat, eye protection and a hunter orange vest—equipment provided at the clinics by ODFW to anyone who doesn’t have it. Hunters also need to check in and out of the hunt.

RINGNECK PHEASANTS ARE STOCKED BY ODFW AND OTHERS TO ENSURE THE KIDDOS HAVE A CHANCE AT BAGGING A BIRD DURING THE FREE EVENTS. (ODFW)

The hunts are free, though participants need a valid hunting license ($10 for youth 12 and older, free for age 11 and under) to hunt. Youth hunters age 12-17 also need an upland game bird validation ($4). Purchase online  or at a license sales agent or ODFW office that sells licenses. Licenses and validations will not be sold at the events.

While most areas have a hunt both Saturday and Sunday, youth hunters may sign up for only one hunt. They are welcome to hunt stand by on the other day.

See page 26-27 of the Oregon Game Bird Regulations for more information, or see myodfw.com/workshops-and-events for the local contact for each hunt. For help signing up, contact Myrna Britton, (503) 947-6028, Myrna.B.Britton@state.or.us

·       Central Point, Denman Wildlife Area, Sept. 14 and Sept. 15.

·       Coquille, Coquille Valley Wildlife Area, Sept. 7 and Sept. 8.

·        Corvallis (near Camp Adair), EE Wilson Wildlife Area, Sept. 21 and Sept. 22.

·        Eugene, Fern Ridge Wildlife Area, Sept. 7 and Sept. 8. Registration not necessary but appreciated.

·        Irrigon Wildlife Area (between Irrigon and Umatilla), Sept. 21 and Sept. 22. Sign up for morning or evening hunt (morning only on Sunday).

·        Klamath Falls, Klamath Wildlife Area, Sept. 14 and Sept. 15. Additional hunt on Oct. 19 when Miller Island Unit open to youth hunters only on a first-come, first-serve basis beginning at 10 a.m. Call 541-883-5732 from more information.

·        John Day Valley, Sept. 14 and Sept. 15.

·        La Grande, Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area, Sept. 14 and Sept. 15. Registration not necessary but appreciated.

·        Madras, private lands, Sept. 14 and Sept. 15.

·        Ontario, Oct. 12 and Oct. 13

·        Portland, Sauvie Island Wildlife Area, Sept. 14 and Sept. 15.

·        Tygh Valley/The Dalles, White River Wildlife Area, Sept. 14 and Sept. 15.

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ODFW Extends Nehalem Wild Chinook Limit Reduction Onto Ocean Waters Off Jaws

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Following conservation measures adopted last week to reduce catch limits in the Nehalem Basin itself, ODFW has implemented a temporary rule modifying catch limits for adult wild Chinook salmon in the ocean immediately off the mouth of Nehalem Bay. 

MIKE SMITH SNAPPED THIS PIC OF THE SUN RISING OVER THE ENTRANCE TO NEHALEM BAY DURING THE 2017 FALL CHINOOK SEASON. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Effective July 1, ocean anglers fishing inside the special ocean management area (defined below) will be required to abide by the same catch limits as anglers fishing inside the Nehalem River basin. Under these new temporary rules, take of adult wild Chinook salmon in this ocean area and the Nehalem Basin combined is restricted to one adult wild Chinook salmon for the period of July 1-Sept. 15, 2019.

The rule changes do not affect other existing regulations in this ocean area. In particular, anglers will still be required to follow federal rules and use no more than two single point barbless hooks. Catch limits for hatchery salmon and legal size limits also remain unchanged. Salmon caught in this area will still be recorded on the combined angling tag as code “2”, not code “66” (see page 90 of the 2019 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations for location codes).

“During recently held public hearings, one of the concerns we heard was specifically about the ocean immediately outside of the bay, where an opportunity exists for anglers to harvest Chinook salmon bound for the Nehalem Basin,” says Robert Bradley, District Fish Biologist for ODFW’s North Coast Watershed District. “This special ocean management area is intended to ensure that conservation measures needed for the Nehalem Basin are achieved. The action will also make enforcement of the reduced limits more straightforward.”

Bag limit and other restrictions for fall-run Chinook salmon in Oregon coastal basins, including the Nehalem River and this special ocean management area after Sept. 15, will be announced later this summer. For more information about upcoming North Coast fishing seasons, including regulation updates, visit ODFW’s online fishing reports at https://myodfw.com/recreation-report/fishing-report/northwest-zone

Nehalem Bay special ocean management area

The affected area is a seaward rectangle, approximately 0.4 miles south and 0.7 miles north of the center of the channel and 0.5 miles seaward from the mouth of the Nehalem River, defined by the following GPS points:

Point 1: 45° 39’ 00” Latitude and 123° 56’ 31” W Longitude

Point 2: 45° 39’ 00” Latitude and 123° 57’ 15” W Longitude

Point 3: 45° 40’ 00” Latitude and 123° 57’ 15” W Longitude

Point 4: 45° 40’ 00” Latitude and 123° 56’ 24” W Longitude

AN ODFW MAP OUTLINES THE AREA OFF THE MOUTH OF NEHALEM BAY WHERE THE CHINOOK BAG LIMIT IS BEING REDUCED TO ONE WILD KING FOR THE SEASON. (ODFW)

ODFW Leftover Tag Sales Delayed Till Aug. 1; Will Be Online Only

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

The sale of about 200 leftover controlled big game hunt tags will be delayed until Thursday, Aug. 1.

AMONG THE 217 LEFTOVER TAGS THAT WILL BECOME AVAILABLE AUG. 1 ON A FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVE BASIS ARE THREE FOR ANTLERLESS ELK ON THE ZUMWALT PRAIRIE OF NORTHEAST OREGON IN MID-DECEMBER. MELISSA LITTLE BAGGED THIS COW THERE DURING A SLIGHTLY LATER HUNT SEVERAL YEARS AGO. (HUNTING PHOTO CONTEST)

The process for these tags is changing this year due to ODFW’s new electronic licensing system, with leftover tags being sold exclusively online, rather than at license sale agents/vendors.

ODFW is delaying the date of the sale (from July 1 to Aug. 1 at 10 a.m.) to allow more time for staff to complete User Acceptance Testing of the new process before the sale takes place.

The delay also provides additional time for hunters who want to try for a leftover tag to get ready for the new process. Hunters will need to have an active and verified MyODFW online licensing account, including a username and password, to purchase a leftover tag this year. (If you don’t have an online account yet, visit MyODFW.com and click “Buy a License” and then follow the steps to verify your account.)

See below for tips on purchasing a leftover tag, and the MyODFW.com website for a step-by-step guide.

·        Check the list of tags available first. Note some of the hunts are on private land, and permission from the landowner is required to hunt with the tag. See the 2019 Big Game Regulations for more information about each hunt.

·        Be logged in by 10 a.m. on Aug. 1. Leftover tags sell out in minutes and in the past, hunters needed to be first or second in line at a vendor at 10 a.m. for a reasonable chance of purchasing one. ODFW anticipates leftover tags will sell out quickly online, too.

·        Get a 2019 annual hunting license before Aug. 1. Hunters need to have an annual hunting license to be eligible to buy a leftover tag.

·        Youth must purchase leftover tags from their own account. Parents can create an online account for their children and the purchase must be completed from the child’s account.  

Leftover tags provide an additional hunting opportunity for hunters, as they can be purchased in addition to a regular controlled or general season big game tag.

ODFW To Hold 20 Meetings Around Oregon On 2020 Hunt Reg Proposals

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Join ODFW district staff at one of 20 meetings happening around the state in July.

A BLACK-TAILED BUCK IN WESTERN OREGON. (KEITH KOHL)

The meetings will focus on big game regulations and are a great chance to come and hear about changes proposed for the 2020 seasons, comment on those changes and ask questions of district wildlife biologists.

As part of a multi-year process to review, simplify and improve the Big Game Hunting Regulations, ODFW is proposing some major changes for 2020, including changing the Western Oregon centerfire bag limit to a buck with a visible antler and offering a new general season antlerless elk damage tag. Get more details on these proposals at the meetings or look for an online summary next week.

Public comment about the proposals and other issues related to big game regulations will be taken at these meetings, or email comments to odfw.commission@state.or.us. Final 2019 Big Game Hunting Regulations will be adopted at the Sept. 13 Commission meeting in Gold Beach.

2019 Big Game Public Meeting Schedule

City

Date

Time

Location

 

Burns July 2 7:00 pm Harney County Community Center

484 N Broadway, Burns OR

Pendleton July 2 4:00-7:00 pm Pendleton Convention Center

1601 Westgate, Pendleton OR

Lakeview July 8 8:00 am – 5:00 pm ODFW Lakeview

18560 Roberta Rd., Lakeview OR

Newport July 8 6:00 pm ODFW Newport

2040 SE Marine Science Dr., Newport OR

Clackamas July 9 5:00-8:00 pm ODFW Clackamas District Office, Large Conference Rm

17330 SE Evelyn St., Bldg. 16

Clackamas OR

Charleston July 9 6:00 – 8:00 pm OIMB Boathouse

63466 Boat Basin Rd., Charleston OR

Gold Beach July 9 6:00 pm Gold Beach Library

94341 3rd St., Gold Beach OR

John Day July 9 5:30 – 7:00 pm Grant County Extension Service Office

116 NW Bridge St. Ste. 1

John Day OR

Redmond July 9 6:00 – 8:00 pm Redmond High School

675 SW Rimrock Way, Redmond OR

Roseburg July 9 6:00 – 7:30 pm Backside Brewing

1640 NE Odell Ave., Roseburg OR

Heppner July 10 6:00 – 9:00 pm ODFW Heppner

54173 Hwy 74, Heppner OR

Springfield July 10 7:00 – 8:00 pm Gateway Sizzler

1010 Postal Way, Springfield OR

Albany July 11 7:00 – 8:30 pm Old Armory Building

104 4th Ave SW, Albany OR

Central Point July 11 7:00 pm ODFW Central Point

1495 East Gregory Rd., Central Point OR

Klamath Falls July 11 6:00 pm Shasta Grange Hall

5831 Shasta Way, Klamath Falls OR

La Grande July 12 6:00 – 9:00 pm La Grande City Library, Community Rm

2006 Fourth St., La Grande OR

Grants Pass July 18 7:00 pm Elmer’s Restaurant

175 NE Agness Ave., Grants Pass OR

Ontario July 18 7:00 pm (MDT) OSU Extension

710 SW 5th Ave., Ontario OR

Seaside July 18 4:00 – 7:00 pm Seaside Convention Center

415 First St., Seaside  OR

The Dalles July 18 6:00 pm The Dalles Screen Shop

3561 Klindt Dr. , The Dalles OR

Northwest States, Tribes Apply To Feds For OK To Kill More Columbia Sea Lions

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), along with a consortium of state and tribal partners, today submitted an expanded application to lethally remove California and Steller sea lions preying on threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead runs in the Columbia River and its tributaries.

SEA LIONS GATHER INSIDE THE MOUTH OF THE COWEEMAN RIVER AT KELSO, MOST LIKELY FOLLOWING THE 2016 RUN OF ESA-LISTED EULACHON, OR SMELT, UP THE COLUMBIA RIVER. (SKYLAR MASTERS)

California sea lions — and increasingly, Steller sea lions — have been observed in growing numbers in the Columbia River basin, especially in the last decade. These sea lions prey heavily on salmon and steelhead runs listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), including thousands of fish at Bonneville Dam each year.

The impacts come at a time when many Chinook salmon runs are already at historic lows.

The recovery of sea lions since the passage of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) in 1972 is a success story, said Kessina Lee, Region 5 director with WDFW. But that recovery has also brought challenges.

“The vast majority of these animals remain in coastal and offshore waters, but several hundred have established themselves in upriver locations,” Lee said. “Where salmon and steelhead numbers are low, any unmanaged increase in predation can cause serious problems.”

Predator management is a key part of a multi-faceted effort to restore salmon and steelhead populations in the Pacific Northwest.

“For decades, we’ve made strides in habitat restoration, hydropower policy, hatchery production, and fishery management, and we continue to work with our partners to further those initiatives,” Lee said. “Predator management remains an essential part of the equation.”

The application submitted to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) by WDFW and its partners is the first since Congress passed an amendment to the MMPA in December 2018. That amendment, spearheaded by the Pacific Northwest congressional delegation, passed with strong bipartisan support and offers greater flexibility to wildlife managers when determining if a sea lion should be lethally removed in waters that host ESA-listed runs of salmon or steelhead.

“Based on years of experience working within the bounds of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Columbia River fishing tribes contend that predator management is necessary to restore balance to the Columbia River system,” said Ryan Smith, chairman of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. “Strong partnerships and collaboration with the states, northwest congressional delegation, federal authorities, and nongovernment organizations resulted in this amendment, which applies robust tools to manage sea lions in the lower Columbia River and recognizes tribal sovereignty in that management.”

WDFW and its partners have taken steps to deter California sea lions in the Columbia River basin for more than a decade, but non-lethal measures have proven largely ineffective, driving animals away for only short periods. These hazing measures appear similarly ineffective against Steller sea lions. Non-lethal measures continue to be used as a short-term deterrent when appropriate.

Wildlife managers have conducted lethal removal operations of California sea lions in the Columbia River basin since 2008, when NMFS first issued a letter of authorization under section 120 of the MMPA. From 2008-2019, wildlife managers removed a total of 219 California sea lions that met the federal criteria for removal below Bonneville Dam.

Steller sea lions have not previously been subject to lethal removal.

“Prior to this legislation, wildlife managers were severely limited in their ability to effectively manage sea lions in these areas,” Lee said. “Additional action is required to protect these troubled fish stocks before they are completely eliminated. This is an unfortunate, but necessary step in the salmon recovery process.”

If approved, WDFW expects to begin humanely removing animals under the terms of the expanded application beginning in 2020. The application is subject to a public comment period and review by NMFS. Members of the public can review the application at https://wdfw.wa.gov/sites/default/files/2019-06/MMPA-120f-application.pdf.

Other entities submitting the application with WDFW include the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, the Nez Perce Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR), the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon (CTWSR), The Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, and the 3.6.D Committee, which includes ODFW, CTUIR, CTWSR, the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community, and the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians of Oregon.