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Bid to Save Pacific Lamprey

Eels Sustainability Politics +4 more

US - Columbia River Basin Indian tribes and federal agencies are working to preserve the Pacific Lamprey.

This year's run of Pacific lamprey is among the lowest ever recorded at Bonneville Dam, according to a report in the Seattle Times.

The lamphrey have been on a steady annual decline in numbers returning from the ocean to spawn.

The report says that dams and diversions in the Columbia River Basin system, degraded stream habitat, chemical poisoning, poorer water quality, competition from non-native fish species, disease and predators are the reasons for the decline.

Now, tribes and government agencies are trying to stem the decline by making lamprey-friendly improvements to dams and diversions through a 10-year plan improving stream habitat and more, the report says.

However there is also concern that the measures being taken could be too late.

As of the end of August, 20,783 adult lamprey were counted at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, the Seattle Times report says.

By comparison, 19,429 passed Bonneville last year, while the number was 45,104 in 2008. In the late 1970s, 350,000 to 400,000 per year were counted.