ODFW eyes plan to trap, euthanize sea lions eating steelhead at Willamette Falls


Some unwanted visitors at Oregon City’s Willamette Falls are feasting on native steelhead populations, and now the state is looking at ways to keep them away.

Sea lions are a growing nuisance along the river. Through winter and spring, they camp out at Willamette Falls to hunt steelhead (a protected species) and sturgeon that are returning from the sea to spawn.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) said the sea lions ate 20 to 25 percent of all returning steelhead this year. It’s a problem that they say really only started about a decade ago.

Department biologist Dr. Shaun Clements tells KATU News that they are now considering an emergency permit to trap and euthanize the sea lions, and to make an addition to the Marine Mammal Protection Act that allows the agency to trap, transport and euthanize sea lions near Willamette Falls and upriver of river-mile 112 on the Columbia.

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