The East Fork Lewis River’s sanctuary native steelhead gene pool may be threatened by loss of forage fish. As I write, these ruminant Endangered Species Act-listed juvenile steelhead are smolting and starting their perilous journey down the East Fork to the Columbia River and on to the Columbia’s current ecosystem and ocean pastures.
The odds against survival are huge. Growing populations of cormorants, terns, other seabirds, seals, marine mammals and large fish feed on the smolts and ever-decreasing herring, anchovy and sardine populations that are necessary to provide “cover” and later, a food source for immature steelhead.
Healthy forage fish populations are critical to the recovery of our East Fork native steelhead gene pool.
The current Pacific Fishery Management’s Ecosystem Work Group report justifies the decision to conserve these forage species because of their importance to the California current ecosystem and the growing worldwide demand to catch them.
Let’s get behind their decision and do the right thing for our native East Fork sanctuary steelhead. How? Contact Phaedra Booth, senior associate with The Pew Charitable Trusts by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone, 503-230-6949.