Oregon to haze salmon-eating sea lions on Willamette

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CLACKAMAS, Ore. — A boat crew armed with seal bombs and shotguns loaded with firecrackers will be back on the Willamette River this year trying to keep sea lions from chowing down on salmon bottled up at Willamette Falls.

The hazing started in 2010 but was suspended last year for lack of money. The Legislature authorized $113,000 to pay for a boat and crew for three months, starting Monday. The idea is to allow more threatened spring chinook and winter steelhead to get past the sea lions to spawn.

The state says as many as 21 sea lions were at the falls in 2011, where biologists estimate they can each eat four to seven fish a day.

Similar efforts have been going on for years at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia.