A federal agency today informed Oregon and Washington it is permanently withdrawing their authority to lethally remove California sea lions at Bonneville Dam.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said no sea lions are present there now and likely won’t be until spring. The state of Oregon in May said it would suspend the practice.
This sanctioned killing of sea lions, which are a federally protected species, is intended to prevent them from eating threatened or endangered salmon on the Columbia River.
The lethal removal of sea lions is currently subject to litigation and the topic of proposed legislation in Congress.
Although NOAA in its press release described its action as the permanent suspension of states’ sea lion-killing authority, it also indicated that it would consider sanctioning such action in the future, given that “the conflict between California sea lions and salmon remains.”
Here are some earlier posts on California sea lions at Bonneville from OPB’s Ecotrope:
November, 2010: Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rules against lethal removal.
January, 2011: NOAA responds to ruling.
January: The issue moves to Congress.
May: Wildlife groups sue to stop a new program allowing the lethal removal of sea lions.
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