April 12th, 2006 Jon Weatherford | Rogue of the Week
 

C404

     
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Yes, America First troglodytes are making yet another run at blaming undocumented Hispanics for all our woes. And no, there's no glory covering Portland's top cops or pols these days.

But the Rogue Desk wants to focus this week on a Californian who's wreaking havoc in Oregon and is too inhuman to even feel remorse.

The outlaw: C404, an unusually cunning 600-pound male California sea lion who's figured out how to get inside the fish ladder at Bonneville Dam so he can greedily eat up precious Oregon salmon as easily as, um, shooting fish in a barrel.

Robert Stansell, a fish biologist with the Army Corps of Engineers, says C404 is gorging on at least a half-dozen trapped salmon a day.

In a joint sea-lion-hazing operation, workers with the corps and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have tried firecrackers, rockets, rubber bullets and "noises sea lions don't like" to discourage the pinniped. But these tactics have failed.

C404 is in clear violation of several state and federal laws including illegal harvest methods, taking salmon out of season and without a license, exceeding the bag limit, and fleeing and eluding authorities.

If C404 were human, his incursions within the dam and locks would expose him to federal prosecution for trespass and endangering federal property, according to Diana Fredlund, spokeswoman for the corps, which administers the dam.

Worse, gobbling salmon within the fish ladders constitutes what state Fish and Wildlife spokesman Brad Wurfel calls "a violation of our core wildlife management policy."

But even though C404's protected-species status means he can't just be shot or clubbed to death, some relief may be in sight for the coho and chinook just looking to get their spawn on: The latest update is that C404 may be getting too fat to squeeze through the bars of the fish ladder.

 
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