Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Theresa Tilson / Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife

A record number of sea lions have been feeding in the Columbia River this spring. A lack of food in the ocean and a big run of smelt drew them in. And now they’re eating salmon. That has a lot of people debating the best way to manage these hulking pinnipeds. While some are shooting at them, and arguing for their lethal removal, others are rushing to their defense.
 

In Astoria's East Mooring Basin, big blubbery sea lions have taken over the docks that are supposed to harbor boats. Bill Hunsinger oversees those docks as a commissioner with the Port of Astoria.

Wolf
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Desmond: Since wolves first started returning to Washington and Oregon in the late 1990s, the population has been increasing steadily – especially over the past few years.

Now wildlife officials are taking a look at the species’ protected status. In late April, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission initiated the process of removing wolves from the state’s endangered species list.

All this brings up questions of whether the wolf has actually recovered enough to dial back protections.

With me now with some answers is EarthFix Correspondent Jes Burns.

Wolf
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission Friday began the process of removing gray wolves from the state’s endangered species list.
 

The Commission asked Fish and Wildlife staff to develop two proposals - one that would delist the wolf statewide and another that would allow for a partial delisting that would maintain protections for wolves in the western part of the state.

Wildlife biologists say there are now 77 wolves in Oregon and certain key conservation goals have been met.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

A decline in revenue at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is putting the agency's financial health at risk. A recent audit from the Secretary of State is raising questions about the Department's business model.

Since the 1970's, fewer people have been buying hunting and fishing licenses, which analysts say is a reflection of a nationwide trend. The licenses are the largest part of the ODFW's annual operating budget; it generated more than a billion dollars in 2013. Gary Blackmer is the Director of the Secretary of State's Audit Division.

oregonstate.edu

Sunday the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife begun the process of collaring about 500 mule deer in the Southern Blue Mountain Range near Prineville.

Rick Swart/ODFW

Oregonians who receive assistance from food banks might find an expensive - and tasty item in their boxes this winter.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says a banner run of Chinook and Coho has allowed them to donate 175-tons of salmon to the Oregon Food Bank. It will be distributed to food banks across the state.

KLCC's Angela Kellner spoke to Rick Swart with the ODFW.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is recommending a rule change making barbed hooks legal inside certain areas of the lower Willamette River as well as Youngs Bay and Gnat Creek near Astoria.

EWEB

The Eugene Water and Electric Board is hoping to get one of two malfunctioning roll gates on the Leaburg Dam repaired by mid-January.

One of three roll-gates broke down on the 85-year old dam on the McKenzie River in 2012. EWEB has been working on repairs and hopes to have it back in operation in a couple of weeks. Late last month, a 2nd roll-gate malfunctioned. EWEB spokesman Lance Robertson says the utility hasn’t yet determined why.  He says the dam is basically out of commission- with only one gate working.

Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife

Beginning January 1, Oregon hunters will be able to kill more cougars. The changes come as conflicts between humans and the big cats are on the rise.

In many parts of Oregon, cougars have begun pushing into populated areas. There has been an uptick in what wildlife officials call “non-hunting mortalities” - situations where cougars are killed because of danger to humans or livestock, or unfortunate run-ins with car fenders.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Michelle Dennehy:

Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife

Willamette Valley anglers will be delighted to find an early bonanza of hatchery trout in local waterways.  A dam malfunction turns out to be good news for folks who want to go fishing for New Years.

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