the population decline of Pacific lamprey along the Northwest coast and in the
inland Columbia River basin, a conservation initiative was established for the
fish to promote the implementation of conservation measures in Alaska,
Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
participants in a Pacific Lamprey Conservation Agreement gave the Northwest
Power and Conservation Council an update on its progress at the Council’s
meeting, Wednesday, February15, in Portland. So far, the collaborative effort
to restore Pacific lamprey to coastal areas as well as the Columbia basin has
identified some high priority actions, and it has had some successes.
to Pacific Lamprey are restricted by mainstem and tributary passage at dams,
reduced flows and dewatering of streams, stream and floodplain degradation,
degraded water quality, and changing marine and climate conditions, according
to Council information.
Conservation Agreement is a regional strategy to improve the status of the fish
throughout their range – coastal and inland – by helping implement research and
status of the lamprey risk assessment is that the coastal areas are more
secure, but the inland areas are at a higher risk,” Mark Fritsch, Council Fish
and Wildlife implementation manager told the full Council.
the conservation initiative began in 2007, the actual Conservation Agreement
for Pacific Lamprey was signed by more than 30 parties in 2012: https://nwcouncil.app.box.com/s/5nn3rjb2krlum73qicdovuxjdrltu7hk
CBB, July 20, 2012, “Feds, States, Tribes Sign Agreement Pledging Cooperation,
Information Sharing On Protecting Lamprey” http://www.cbbulletin.com/421722.aspx)
has three phases: the assessment and template phase for further conservation
measures; the conservation agreement; and regional implementation plans.
trying to implement the actions needed” for Pacific lamprey recovery,” Fritsch
said. “We now have a large group of partners working together. It’s not just a
tribal or CRITFC plan any more.”
the panel providing the overview of the lamprey initiative, was Howard
Schaller, co-chair of the conservation team, and Christina Wang, chair of the
lamprey technical workgroup. Both are with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Also on the panel was Brian McIlraith who manages the Columbia Inter-Tribal
Fish Commission Pacific lamprey programs.
Agreement represents a cooperative effort among natural resource agencies and
tribes to reduce threats to Pacific Lamprey and improve their habitats and
population status,” the Initiative says. It will:
regional implementation plans derived from existing information and plans,
scientific research, and
and evaluate the effectiveness of those actions.
has been a rigorous process,” Wang said. “All partners are working to meet the
conservation agreement objectives.”
said that there has been strong tribal representation in the effort to recover
lamprey, but also a strong upper management representation by federal
government entities. All Northwest tribes initially supported the efforts, but
now every recognized tribe in the nation supports the efforts, he said. In the
process, there already are 17 regional implementation plans in place.
trying also to get the local managers’ expertise to identify gaps in knowledge
and high priority needs,” Schaller said. “We have an inventory of needs and are
prioritizing efforts and projects – what’s feasible – and want as many
shovel-ready projects in the cue as possible.”
all that is done, then they can look at funding streams, matching projects with
funds, he added.
restoration plans for the lamprey are complete or in progress, Schaller said.
Those not complete – a plan for the Snake River, California, coastal Oregon and
Washington – should be ready by summer, he added.
a few projects are already being paid for by the Council’s Fish and Wildlife
Program as well as by the Columbia River Fish Accords, McIlraith said.
the successes is the natural reintroduction of lamprey upstream of Condit Dam
on the White Salmon River and also on the Elwha River after the two dams were
removed from that stream.
Yakama Nation has become a leader in artificially propagating lamprey at its
Prosser hatchery. The work is funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in the process of studies and site improvements
at fish ladders and improving counting methods.
U.S. Geological Survey is working on screening studies as is the Bureau of
Reclamation. The USGS is also hosting a lamprey information site at https://www.sciencebase.gov/catalog/folder/53ad8d9de4b0729c15418232.
Columbia River public utility districts are improving passage at their dams for
are three types of lamprey that call the Columbia River basin home. In addition
to Pacific lamprey, they are brook lamprey, a non-anadromous variety, and river
lamprey, which is anadromous but doesn’t travel far into the ocean.
goals are difficult to establish for lamprey, McIlraith said. They do not home
like a salmon so they aren’t destined for a particular spot upstream. Plus,
historic numbers are not precisely known.
is known is that the number of lamprey counted at Bonneville Dam in 1970, the
highest number recorded since1938, was about 375,000 while the count in 2015
was about 50,000. For McNary Dam, the count reached about 22,000 in the 1960s
and was near zero in 2015.
Council requested a basin-wide lamprey synthesis report in 2011, and completion
is expected by March or April of this year.
synthesis will summarize project results and develop conclusions on the data
gathered for lamprey in the basin, according to McIlraith. In addition, it will
identify the status and trends of lamprey population, limiting factors and
critical uncertainties, as well as list priorities for future actions, or at
least identify a path to prioritize actions.