RICHLAND, Wash. – For the first time, Indian tribes in the Columbia Basin are coming together to restore Pacific lamprey. The new plan will cover all 260,000 square miles of the basin.
The Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission recently announced a comprehensive plan to restore Pacific lamprey (PDF). Lamprey are the oldest fish in the Columbia River, with fossils dating back 450 million years. Commission spokeswoman Sara Thompson says Pacific lamprey play an important part in tribal ceremonies and subsistence.
“Pacific lamprey are really a species that we are running the risk of losing in our lifetime. And so there’s a real sense of urgency associated with addressing lamprey declines,” Thompson says.
The commission will look for solutions to lampreys’ problems getting past dams. Also, researchers will study how water contaminants affect lamprey. And they will restore habitat and help to recolonize fish throughout the basin. Some of the projects’ money will come from the Bonneville Power Administration through the Columbia Basin Fish Accords.
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