The first few phases of a long-range plan by
tribes to restore Pacific lamprey runs into Columbia River tributaries through
artificial propagation and translocation was given a tentative approval this
week by the Fish and Wildlife Committee of the Northwest Power and Conservation
However, given the uncertainty of Bonneville
Power Administration funding and whether the Columbia River Fish Accords will
be extended beyond 2018, the Committee at its meeting in Missoula, Montana,
Tuesday, July 10, approved the first couple of implementation phases of the
lamprey Master Plan, but sent the tribes back to the drawing board to determine
the actual costs of such a restoration effort.
The Yakama Nation and the Confederated Tribes
of the Umatilla Indian Reservation want to implement the first steps of the
Master Plan for lamprey – Pacific Lamprey Artificial Propagation,
Translocation, Restoration and Research Plan – that will cost between $100,000
and $200,000 per year through fiscal year 2021, according to the Council’s Mark
Fritsch. Also involved with the lamprey master plan are the Nez Perce Tribe and
the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission.
Initially, the tribes are seeking a three-year
commitment of money to begin Master Plan implementation, Fritsch said. He said
the Council should recommend to the Bonneville Power Administration to fund the
program through Phase 3, Objective 5 for FY2019 – 2021. The project already is
funded in FY2018.
That money could come from the Accords
(separate BPA funds for fish and wildlife projects with tribal sovereigns), but
the current 10-year agreement is set to expire in September, Fritsch said.
While BPA and tribes are negotiating a new agreement, Bonneville is reviewing
all its fish and wildlife projects seeking to reduce costs. That could take up
to a year, according to Bryan Mercier, executive director of BPA’s fish and
Idaho Council member Bill Booth said that
before final approval at the Council level, funding for the Master Plan
implementation must be resolved.
“If we don’t address the funding issue when we
move this to the full Council, they won’t approve it,” Booth said.
The Master Plan received a qualified approval
from the Independent Scientific Review Panel in March, which said it meets
scientific review criteria, but added six qualifications, including providing
more information on the tribes’ supplementation strategy that will be addressed
in the first two phases of the project, said Brian McIlraith, Pacific lamprey
project lead with CRITFC.
The translocation strategy collects adult
lamprey from downstream in the Columbia River and transports them upstream,
helping the lamprey “avoid the difficult migration channel” upriver through
dams on the river. Translocation has been used by the tribes since the early
2000s, McIlraith said.
Artificial propagation is the other strategy
and the Master Plan is focused on hatcheries, he said.
The most important aspects of the plan are to
continue translocation and to develop and implement artificial propagation as a
component of a regional research and supplementation plan. Ultimately,
McIlraith said, the Tribes want to restore lamprey to its historical geographic
The Master Plan outlines three overlapping phases:
Phase 1 is largely done in the laboratory, or
in hatcheries, and has already begun with phase 1 beginning in 2012 and ending
Phase 2 is the field phase, Brian said, taking
lamprey from the laboratory and strategically releasing them and monitoring the
outcome. This phase began this year and will conclude in 2026.
Phase 3 is the synthesis phase when the tribes
will evaluate supplementation results to determine the most successful
strategies and develop new strategies as needed. This phase is 2022 through
Phase 4 is the implementation phase that
begins in 2027.
The Yakama Nation and the Umatilla Tribe are
doing complementary work, Brian said.
For the Yakama Nation, adult translocation
will continue into the lower Yakima and Methow subbasins, while they will focus
artificial propagation research in the upper Yakima and Naches watersheds.
The Umatilla Tribe will continue translocation
into the Umatilla and Grande Ronde subbasins and will release larvae/juveniles
in watersheds within the Walla Walla and Tucannon subbasins over the next ten
Both tribes have developed hatchery capacity
to maintain adult lamprey and to propagate larval lamprey, McIlraith said.
The Yakama’s have established the capacity to
spawn, fertilize, incubate and rear lamprey at the Marion Drain Fish Hatchery
and at the Prosser Fish Hatchery.
Also, the Umatilla Tribe has developed
hatchery capacity at the Water and Environmental Center at Walla Walla
Community College and at the Mukilteo Research Station, owned by NOAA
Fisheries, and plans an expansion at a South Fork Walla Walla facility.
The Council July 5, 2018 Decision Memorandum
by Fritsch is at https://www.nwcouncil.org/sites/default/files/2018_0710_f1lamprey.pdf.
McIlraith’s presentation is included.
The Master Plan is at https://nwcouncil.app.box.com/s/em09zw9p9iv4mhoh8em6k4b06r4khjvr.
--CBB, June 1, 2018, “Science Panel Reviews
Tribes’ Master Plan For Recovering Pacific Lamprey In Columbia River Basin,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/440843.aspx
--CBB, February 16, 2018, “Science Panel Gives
Tribes’ Lamprey Synthesis Report High Marks, Some Questions About Genetics,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/440225.aspx
--CBB, January 5, 2018, “Science Panel Supports
Basin Pacific Lamprey Conservation Initiative With Some Suggestions,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/440009.aspx
--CBB, February 17, 2017, “Study Looks At
Genetics, Migration, Behavior Of Pacific Lamprey In Willamette River,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/438353.aspx