Two different anglers on two different waterbodies, but both in the anadromous zone of the Columbia River basin and both on the same day – July 17, 2017 – say they saw one of the most feared invasive predators in the basin, a northern pike. But, their alleged sightings were quickly debunked … by science.
Northern pike were promoted to a short list of the most unwanted invasive species in the state of Washington on Friday by the state’s Fish and Wildlife Commission.
For the most part, the double-crested cormorants that abandoned one of the largest cormorant colonies in the world, located at East Sand Island in the lower Columbia River estuary, simply moved a couple of miles upstream to the Astoria-Megler Bridge, according to a study in process.
As efforts continue to curb the proliferation of northern pike in the Columbia River Basin, the state of Washington and co-management agencies are pursuing additional funding and flexibility to respond to the voracious predators entering the “anadromous zone” downstream from Grand Coulee Dam.
NOAA Fisheries has released a draft plan for public comment to remove and kill as many as 416 California and Steller sea lions each year in a 180 mile stretch of the Columbia River from just downstream of Bonneville Dam at river mile 112 upstream to McNary Dam at river mile 292.
The Grant, Chelan and Douglas Public Utility Districts are contributing to an effort by tribes and state agencies to control Northern Pike, a voracious predator that, if not contained, could set back decades of salmon recovery efforts across the Pacific Northwest.
The goal at East Sand Island in the lower Columbia River estuary is to limit the number of double-crested cormorants nesting on the island to 5,600 breeding pairs to limit the birds’ impacts on juvenile salmon and steelhead, according to Jeffery Henon, spokesperson for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The number of the larger steller sea lions searching for dinner in the Bonneville Dam tailrace was about the same for May this year as the numbers observed last year in May. However, the number of California sea lions has dropped this year.
With the growing worry about sea lion predation – both California and steller – on Endangered Species Act-listed salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River basin, three states and four Native American Tribes applied last week to NOAA Fisheries to lethally remove as many as 286 California and 130 steller sea lions from the river and some tributaries.