Lamprey Technical Workgroup Completes Guidance For Providing Passage For Pacific Lamprey At Road Crossings (Culverts)

As part of its ongoing efforts to conserve Pacific Lamprey, the Lamprey Technical Workgroup recently completed a document to provide guidance for evaluating and providing passage for adult Pacific Lamprey at road crossings.

The Pacific Lamprey is a culturally and ecologically important anadromous species that is native from Baja, California north to Alaska. Within that range, thousands of road crossings of streams occur (e.g. culverts) that can inhibit upstream passage of the species during its migration from the ocean to freshwater holding and spawning habitats.

Since the resulting habitat fragmentation reduces population productivity and resiliency, providing passage is an important and effective strategy to restore this imperiled species.

The goals of the guidance document are to raise awareness of adult Pacific Lamprey passage requirements, which are very different from that of salmon, and to help biologists and engineers identify and prioritize barriers to the species and provide unimpaired passage at road crossings.

While salmon passage has been assessed at many road crossings, few sites have been evaluated specifically for Pacific Lamprey, due in part to the lack of awareness and guidance. Accordingly, these guidelines describe:

• current understanding of the factors affecting passage of adult Pacific Lamprey at road crossings,

• a standard process for evaluating passage at road crossings,

• considerations for prioritizing barrier sites for improving passage,

• options for improving passage, and

• key data gaps/uncertainties related to adult passage.

The document also includes case studies of the passage assessment process and projects where passage has been provided for Pacific Lamprey at road crossings. Development of the document was funded by Bonneville Power Administration and can be downloaded at: https://www.fws.gov/pacificlamprey/Documents/LTW_2020_LampreyPassage@RdXings_Final_062920.pdf

These guidelines complement another guidance document recently released by the Lamprey Technical Work Group: Best Management Guidelines for Native Lampreys during In-Water Work, which provides more information on lamprey life histories and procedures for reducing impacts to lampreys during construction activities such as culvert removal or replacement (https://www.fws.gov/pacificlamprey/Documents/2020%20Lamprey%20BMG%20Final.pdf).

The Lamprey Technical Workgroup is a technical advisory committee composed of multiple entities: state and federal agencies, Native American tribes, NGOs, and others in the States of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and California.  The Workgroup is part of the Pacific Lamprey Conservation Initiative, a voluntary collaboration of groups committed to working with our partners to implement actions for the conservation of lampreys. For more information and resources, see https://www.fws.gov/pacificlamprey/mainpage.cfm

Also see:

— CBB,  June 11, 2020, LAMPREY TECHNICAL WORKGROUP ISSUES ‘BEST MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES FOR NATIVE LAMPREYS DURING IN-WATER WORK’ https://www.cbbulletin.com/lamprey-technical-workgroup-issues-best-management-guidelines-for-native-lampreys-during-in-water-work/

— CBB, Jan. 18, 2019, NW POWER/CONSERVATION COUNCIL RECOMMENDS BPA FUNDING FOR PACIFIC LAMPREY PROJECTS https://www.cbbulletin.com/nw-power-conservation-council-recommends-bpa-funding-for-pacific-lamprey-projects/

— CBB, Feb. 24, 2017, NW POWER/CONSERVATION COUNCIL HEARS UPDATE ON REGIONAL EFFORTS TO BRING BACK PACIFIC LAMPREY https://www.cbbulletin.com/nw-power-conservation-council-hears-update-on-regional-efforts-to-bring-back-pacific-lamprey/

— CBB, July 20, 2012, FEDS, STATES, TRIBES SIGN AGREEMENT PLEDGING COOPERATION, INFORMATION SHARING ON PROTECTING LAMPREY https://www.cbbulletin.com/feds-states-tribes-sign-agreement-pledging-cooperation-information-sharing-on-protecting-lamprey/

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