I'm sending this message to update you on my efforts to protect our native fish runsfromsea lion predation on the Columbia River.
In 2018, my bipartisan sea lion removal legislation was signed into law — paving the way for fish managers and tribal members to lethally remove sea lions that have been decimating endangered salmon and steelhead.
Since the bill's enactment, I've been putting federal funds in place to provide the necessary equipment to help remove some of the worst offending sea lions on the Columbia River and bolster our native fish numbers.
With this removal process being implemented as we speak, I received an on-the-water update recently with my partner in this effort, Rep. Kurt Schrader.
It was encouraging to hear from wildlife officials that this process is working and that we've seen an increase in native fish numbers — which is why we tackled this issue in the first place.
We're hoping to replicate the recent success of sea lion removal at the Willamette River. In 2017, there were reports of sea lions ravaging steelhead nearly to the brink of extinction at Willamette falls, and from January 2017 to August 2017, only 512 fish made it above the falls — an all-time low.
After the Oregon wildlife managers were granted authority to remove sea lions in this area in 2018, a resurgence of winter steelhead passed above Willamette Falls. This encouraging snapshot of recovering steelhead is proof that lethally removing sea lions is necessary and working.
My goal has not changed: we must keep our native fish runs thriving for years to come.
If you'd like to receive additional updates on legislation and the work I'm doing on behalf of Southwest Washington, please CLICK HERE.
It's an honor to serve you in Congress. If you have a comment, question, or an idea for me, please send me a direct message here. As always, please let me know how I can assist you.