Smith-Root StaffFriday, March 17, 2017
The Port of Astoria has experienced increasing numbers of California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) hauling out on its docks. The sea lions, likely attracted to returning salmon and smelt runs in the Columbia River, completely take over the "P" dock of the East Mooring Basin, preventing small craft from mooring at the dock. Other docks in the East Mooring Basin have been damaged and destroyed by the sea lions. The Port has suffered more than $2 million in damages to its facilities, and is unable to collect mooring fees for most of the year at the "P" dock.
In June 2016, Smith-Root installed a demonstration sea lion deterrence system on the "P" dock. The purpose of the demonstration system is to test the performance of the deterrence system and dock anchoring methods. The system uses NOAA-approved technology to safely and humanely deter sea lions from lingering on the dock after they have hauled out. The system is solar powered, fully self-contained, and is harmless to humans. Unlike many physical barriers, the Smith-Root sea lion deterrence system does not interfere with normal boat operations, allowing boaters easy access between the boat and dock.