Thursday, April 17, 2008

Humanity messing with nature

A federal agency has authorized the killing of some California sea lions that prey on migrating salmon and steelhead at the base of Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River. By some estimates, the sea lions at the base of the dam take up to 4 percent of the spring chinook run headed upriver to spawn. Opponents of the kill have said sea lions are a highly visible and politically convenient target when the real problem lies elsewhere, such as the hydroelectric dams. The Humane Society of the United States and other groups also cite other hurdles facing fish, such as the deterioration of spawning grounds, bird predation of salmon smolts headed to the ocean and agricultural runoff and other pollution. Nonlethal attempts to keep the sea lions away from the dam, such as rubber buckshot, loud noises and pyrotechnics, generally were deemed failures. Some sea lions trapped and taken to the mouth of the Columbia River 140 miles downriver returned to the dam in two or three days. The authorization is valid until June 30, 2012, and can be extended for five years; it can be also revoked by the National Marine Fisheries Service with 72 hours notice. Source: Los Angeles Times via: L.A. Unleashed

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