US Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler, along with Oregon Representative Kurt Schrader, announced that they have secured nearly $ 900,000 in funding to protect salmon from sea lion predation.
The request for $ 892,000 is included in the Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriation Bill approved by the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, according to a statement. July 14 from Herrera Beutler’s office. Funding will go to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for equipment and related needs to remove sea lions and similar species from the Columbia River and its tributaries, as indicated by a 2018 law backed by the two lawmakers.
With record numbers of California and Steller sea lions entering the Columbia, Willamette and Snake rivers, the threat to salmon, rainbow trout, sturgeon and other fish in the rivers has increased these recent years, according to the statement. Sea lions feed on adult salmon and rainbow trout that migrate upstream in particular, according to NOAA Fisheries.
“For too long our numbers of Northwestern fish have been wiped out by a growing population of sea lions moving to the rivers of our region to gorge on salmon, rainbow trout and sturgeon,” Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, said in the statement. âWith the sea lion control measures that Rep. Schrader and I championed in 2018, I am pleased that we were able to increase funding to implement these enhanced efforts and give our fish a chance to survive and thrive. for generations to come. “
Schrader, an Oregon Democrat, said taxpayers and voters in the Bonneville Power Administration in his district pay hundreds of millions of dollars a year to mitigate impacts on threatened and endangered species.
âWhile we have made progress with the crisis in recent years by changing laws and finding creative solutions, there is still work to be done to save our iconic salmon,â Schrader said in the statement. “The funding that MP Herrera Beutler and I secured through our request would give our agencies more tools to continue working towards the ultimate goal of ending the sea lion threat once and for all.”
The approval marks the latest efforts by Herrera Beutler and Schrader to combat sea lion predation in the Pacific Northwest, the statement said. The two led the Oregon and Washington delegations in amending the Marine Mammal Protection Act to allow the removal of problem seals by wildlife managers and tribes.
“But tackling the problem of sea lion predation is only part of an integrated salmon management strategy that involves other state, federal and tribal partners,” the statement said. âThe entire Pacific Northwest community must also continue to work together on habitat restoration and proper management of fisheries and hatcheries. “