State wildlife officials say wild steelhead in the upper Willamette Basin could go extinct in coming years because of sea lions feasting on the iconic fish at Willamette Falls.
The Statesman Journal reported in June that wild steelhead numbers hit all-time lows this year due to poor ocean conditions, historic drought and the long-term effects of habitat loss.
But in an explosive report made public Monday, officials say sea lion predation could tip the scales toward extinction in rivers including the Santiam, Molalla and Calapooia.
“We’ve reached the point where, unless we take some action, we may condemn this run to extinction,” said Dr. Shaun Clements, senior scientist and fish policy advisor for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. “We need to act now or extinction may be our legacy.”
Read more at the Statesman Journal.