Tuesday February 27, 2024

The Chronicle

The $71.6 billion operating budget that cleared the Senate Friday includes $1.5 million for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to combat sea lion predation on the lower Columbia River, thanks to an amendment introduced by Sen. Jeff Wilson, R-Longview.

According to a Friday news release, the region loses about 12% of its salmon to predation, a percentage that has doubled since 2006.

“This was a recognition from both sides of the aisle that the predation problem on the Columbia requires urgent attention,” Wilson said. “Lake Washington spring Chinook were wiped out three decades ago because Washington failed to respond quickly and effectively to predation at the Ballard Locks. We can’t let it happen again.”

Last year, sea lions were spotted further up the Cowlitz River than ever before, and Wilson said since that time, he’s worked with fisheries officials, sportsmen’s organizations and other organizations to develop a plan of attack.

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