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Council’s Science Panel Reviews Synthesis Report On Status, Trends Of Basin’s Pacific Lamprey
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 (PST)

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council has released the Independent Scientific Advisory Board’s review of the report “Synopsis of Lamprey-Related Projects Funded through the Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program.”


The synopsis was produced by the Columbia River Basin Lamprey Technical Working Group and the Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Authority at the request of the Council.


The Council requested that the synthesis summarize results and develop conclusions on the data gathered to date about the status and trends of lamprey populations, limiting factors, and critical uncertainties and risks. It said the report should also prioritize actions based on these conclusions.


The Council identified critical questions to analyze, including the value of tributary habitat projects in helping to improve lamprey returns, whether mainstem dam passage is the key limiting factor, and the relative role of other factors such as ocean conditions and toxic contaminants. The Council requested that the ISAB review the synthesis report.


The ISAB’s review found “that the sponsors of Program-funded lamprey projects provided a synopsis that is useful in demonstrating the type and extent of new information being acquired about Pacific lamprey in the Columbia River Basin.


“However, the synopsis does not compile new findings on lamprey into a form that adequately addresses the Council’s questions. A synthesis of the current state of understanding of factors limiting lamprey recovery was not developed. Given the rudimentary state of knowledge of Pacific lamprey, emphasis is needed on identifying critical uncertainties and risks in an analytical way.


The synopsis succinctly states that “The major impediments to implementation of restoration plans for lamprey are lack of both funding and legal requirements to perform restoration actions,” according to the ISAB.


“These limitations may be real, but justification for either increased recovery funding or for legal requirements mandating recovery should be presented in this synopsis.”


The ISAB said, “Given that returning adult lamprey often do not migrate back to their natal river, as do salmon, lamprey passage at mainstem dams should be more thoroughly documented and reported than current efforts as a means to evaluate overall lamprey status. Consistent monitoring in key tributaries is also needed. It is not clear from the synopsis if there is a comprehensive strategy in the Columbia Basin to document lamprey status.”


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