Wednesday March 29, 2023


Thousand Acres Park just outside of Troutdale is a popular destination for dog walkers. Bordered by the Sandy and Columbia rivers, the park offers wide open spaces, forested paths and access to both rivers. 

But the riverbanks in the park have a somewhat grisly new inhabitant: hundreds, possibly thousands, of dead smelt. 

Sierra Schertz comes to the park once a week, and her first concern after seeing the fish was for her dog. 

“We didn’t really know why they were here,” Schertz said. “We didn’t know if there was something wrong with the fish so we’re just keeping (the dog) away from the fish.”

But wildlife officials said there is no reason to worry. Smelt are anadromous, meaning they hatch in freshwater rivers, spend much of their adult life in the ocean, then return to the same rivers to spawn before they die. 

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