WASHINGTON D.C. — With preliminary environmental reports indicate that 20-50 percent of the juvenile salmon entering the lower Columbia River Estuary are consumed by birds, Congressman Bob Smith (R-OR) today sent a letter signed by nine Pacific Northwest colleagues to Regional Director Anne Badgely urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to take action to reduce avian predation.
"The regional electric ratepayers, and U.S. taxpayers cannot continue to fund salmon mitigation efforts along the Columbia River and its tributaries without also managing the bird colonies that prey on the young salmon," the Members wrote. "Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent every year on the Columbia River salmon mitigation program, a good portion of which is used to increase smolt survival past the river's dams. It now looks like a significant amount of that money is being used to feed the bird colonies that nest along the Columbia River."
"In light of your responsibility to protect these birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the conflict this presents for protection of listed salmon, we would like a detailed explanation of the steps your agency is taking to prevent predation by the terns during next spring's migratory season," the Members wrote.
"We are confident that with cooperation among the federal and state agencies, salmon smolt mortality due to avian predation can be significantly reduced," the Members added.
Members joining Smith include Representatives Doc Hastings (R-WA), Jack Metcalf (R-WA), George Nethercutt (R-WA), Adam Smith (D-WA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Linda Smith (R-WA), Helen Chenoweth (R-ID), Norm Dicks (D-WA), and Rick White (R-WA).
Smith represents Oregon's Second Congressional District -- which includes most of eastern, southern and central Oregon -- in the U.S. House of Representatives.