Friday April 21, 2023

The Chronicle

For anglers who enjoy catching salmon near Astoria, the California sea lion is an established menace. 

The farther out one travels at the river’s mouth, the more they’ll see the stinky, loud, salmon-guzzling pinnipeds (fin-footed mammals such as seals, sea lions and walruses).

Previously, the Upper Cowlitz Basin’s tranquility had remained mostly untouched by seals and sea lions. There are 43 river miles between the Pacific Ocean and the opening of the mouth of the Columbia River near Westport, Oregon, and an additional 70 river miles between the mouth and Salkum’s Barrier Dam on the Cowlitz River.

But climate change or any other already-established threats to the balance between people of the Pacific Northwest, Chinook salmon and the killer whales relying on the fish mean nothing to the two sea lions gorging on hatchery releases at the Barrier Dam in Lewis County on Monday.

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