A long-range plan by tribes to restore Pacific
lamprey runs into the Columbia River received approval last week from the
Northwest Power and Conservation Council at its meeting in Portland.
However, funding of the master plan’s first
few phases by the Bonneville Power Administration remains uncertain.
With the approval of the lamprey plan, the
Council advised the Bonneville Power Administration and the plan sponsors – the
Yakama Nation and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation --
to assess whether the projects would be adequately funded through most of Phase
3 for FY2019 – 2021. The project already is funded in FY2018, which ends
September 30. (see Council August 7
Decision Memorandum at https://www.nwcouncil.org/sites/default/files/7_0.pdf).
The Council also asked that future phases of
the master plan receive a review by the Independent Scientific Advisory Panel.
The tribes plan to restore Pacific lamprey
runs into Columbia River tributaries through artificial propagation and
translocation. The plan approved by the Council at its Aug. 15 meeting was
previously approved July 10 by the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Committee at its
meeting in Missoula, Montana.
However, given the uncertainty of BPA funding
and whether the Columbia River Fish Accords will be extended beyond 2018, the
Committee at its meeting in Missoula, Montana, 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
The Council received the Master Plan – Pacific
Lamprey Artificial Propagation, Translocation, Restoration and Research Plan –
March 28 and immediately asked for a review from the ISRP.
The Plan is at https://nwcouncil.app.box.com/s/em09zw9p9iv4mhoh8em6k4b06r4khjvr
According to the Decision Memo, the plan’s
goal is to evaluate the feasibility of using artificial propagation and
translocation techniques to better understand and ultimately restore Pacific
lamprey throughout its previous range with an emphasis on the Columbia River
Facility upgrades and equipment needs to
implement the Master Plan is estimated to be about $205,000, the Memo
continues. Operations and recurring maintenance would vary among years and
phases. “Generally, costs associated with Phases 1 through 3 (Objective 5)
would likely range from approximately $100,000 to $350,000 annually per each of
the two projects,” it says.
The Master Plan received a qualified approval
from the ISRP 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
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, Brian McIlraith, Pacific lamprey project lead at the Columbia River
Inter-Tribal Fish Commission told the Fish and Wildlife Committee in July.
Artificial propagation is the other strategy
and the Master Plan is focused on hatcheries. Ultimately, McIlraith said, the
Tribes want to restore lamprey to its historical geographic range.
The Master Plan outlines three overlapping
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, 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.
--CBB, July 13, 2018, “Council Fish/Wildlife
Committee Discusses Tribal Plans To Restore Pacific Lamprey To Historic Range,”
--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