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Last winter a mere 512 ESA-Listed, wild winter steelhead passed over Willamette falls to spawn in their natal streams.  Sadly, a minimum of 25% of this historic low return was consumed by male sea lions staged at the base of the falls, where the steelhead are delayed as they seek passage over the falls.  

Only 10 years ago, winter steelhead where showing signs of recovery and meeting several of the criteria for delisting.  But with 10 years of increasing male sea lion presence at the base of the falls, the probability of extinction is approaching 90% for one of the Willamette winter steelhead populations and excessively high for the others.

At NSIA, we are convinced that if the Marine Mammal protection act is not fixed, we will suffer the heartbreak of Willamette winter steelhead going extinct on our watch.  And while sea lions are not YET precipitating extinction at other locations, their ever-growing consumption of salmon, steelhead, sturgeon and lamprey in the northwest is sending out alarm bells to biologists and concerned citizens everywhere!

A bi-partisan bill in the House of Representatives, HR 2083 was introduced by Reps. Herrera-Beutler (R-WA) and Schrader (D-OR).   On August 2, Senator Risch (R) Idaho, introduced S 1702. 

Please write today and to ask your Senators in OR and WA and your member of congress to work collaboratively with Senator Risch in the Senate, and Reps. Herrera Beutler and Schrader in the House, to ensure that the professional managers have the tools they need to prevent extinctions.  We can avoid another Ballard Locks with their help! 

Use this link to find the email address for your US Senators.  We especially need Senators Wyden, MerkleyMurray and Cantwell to work with Senator Risch on a solution that will adjust the Marine Mammal Protection Act to provide managers with the tools they need to protect critical fish populations AND healthy marine mammal populations.  Please write today!   

Write your elected member of Congress with the same message to work with Reps. Schrader and Beutler for the original Bill in the House.  We feel it is especially important that Reps Heck and Kilmer from Washington hear from many of you, as well as Rep. DeFazio  and Bonamici in Oregon.

As always, be polite and professional.  You can read Michael Finley’s, Chair of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, Editorial in the Oregonian.