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Umatilla Tribes This Spring, Summer To Measure Success Of Lamprey Reintroduction, Dam Passage
Posted on Friday, April 27, 2012 (PST)

Three projects are planned by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation this spring and summer to measure the success of lamprey passage and reintroduction programs started 12 years ago on the Umatilla Indian Reservation.


The tribes’ Fish and Wildlife Commission issued scientific take permits to collect up to 500 adult Pacific lamprey as brood stock, to collect and tag 80 adult lamprey to study passage, and to sample 4,000 juvenile lamprey to monitor success of restoration efforts.


CTUIR Fisheries Program crews will collect adults for broodstock at Bonneville, The Dalles and John Day dams.


At Bonneville Dam, the Tribes will utilize lamprey traps operated by the University of Idaho and the National Marine Fisheries Service staff. The individual lampreys will be collected from those agencies that already are sampling lamprey.


At The Dalles and John Day dams, the CTUIR will collect lampreys from each fishway during maintenance/dewaterings conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and utilize traps to catch fish in picketed lead areas for adult lampreys.


Collected lampreys will be transported in an insulated 300-gallon slip tank to the South Fork Walla Walla Adult Holding Facility and then transferred to Minthorn Springs on the Umatilla River in the fall of this year to be held until out-planting in the spring of 2013.


The lamprey will be released near Bear Creek at its confluence with the Umatilla River, near Camp Creek confluence in Meacham Creek, and near Little Iskuulktpe Creek confluence in Iskuulktpe Creek.


A permit also was issued to collect and tag 80 adult Pacific Lamprey for a radio telemetry study to determine the passage success and to evaluate new lamprey passage structures at Three Mile Dam (upstream from the confluence with the Columbia River) and irrigation diversions on the Umatilla River.


The adult lamprey will be collected at Bonneville, The Dalles and/or John Day dam fishways and from brood stock collected last year.


In addition to determining the number of lamprey that successfully pass over the structures, the study will document the rate and route of migration at each structure using the radio telemetry and half-duplex PIT monitoring.


This will aid the tribes’ efforts to re-establish Pacific lamprey to self-sustaining, harvestable levels in the Umatilla Basin through approved adult translocation, according to the permit.


The collection, which is being coordinated with Corps staff, will be conducted using traps  in fishways or from a brood holding facility. On the day of the capture, each lamprey will be weighed, measured and equipped with a uniquely coded radio transmitter, and then tracked upon release.


Another permit was issued to collect at least 4,000 juvenile Pacific lampreys from index site plots (fines, silt, and sand along and within margins of the streams, backwaters and eddies) on the Umatilla River, Meacham Creek and Iskuulktpe Creek, tributaries of the Umatilla River. The purpose of the collection is to continue to monitor larval abundance in restoration areas as outlined in the tribes’ restoration plan.

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