Herrera Beutler: To save steelhead, we must cut sea lion numbers

Steelhead, longtime residents in our rivers here in the Pacific Northwest, are now approaching extinction with alarming speed. This isn’t exaggeration; the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife found that one population of steelhead has an 89 percent chance of becoming extinct in the not too distant future. The culprit for the fish’s demise? Sea lions. Experts are pointing to the increased population of California sea lions as the biggest threat. The sea lions gather in locations where steelhead and salmon are the most vulnerable, like below the Willamette Falls or the Bonneville Dam, where these native fish species congregate before heading upstream to spawn. An alarmingly low number of native steelhead — just 512 — made it over Willamette Falls this year. click here to read the story 10:01