Lake Champlain Funds Secured By Leahy Spawn Innovative Sea Lamprey Barrier

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Tuesday announced the opening of an innovative sea lamprey barrier on Morpion Creek, a tributary of the Pike River in  Notre-Dame-de-Stanbridge, Quebec.  The barrier will address one of the largest uncontrolled populations of sea lamprey in the Lake Champlain Basin. 

Leahy worked to secure nearly $1.3 million for the barrier through the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC). The barrier represents a unique international partnership between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the town of Notre-Dame-de-Stanbridge in Quebec, Canada, where the barrier is located.  The Town and the USFWS will share ownership and operation of the barrier.

“Sea lamprey continue to be a problem in Lake Champlain,” said Leahy. “But after more than 20 years of concerted effort by the Fish and Wildlife Service, wounding rates on fish are declining, and we continue to see new Lake Champlain size records for trout and salmon each year.  The federal sea lamprey control program has proven to be a great success of which we should all be proud.  This Quebec project is an example of the innovative solutions and partnerships that we need to protect the Lake that shares its shores with two states and Canada.”

Sea lamprey control in U.S. waters is accomplished through the use of a chemical lampricide treatment, which targets larval lamprey  in tributary streams.  The configuration of the Pike River provided a perfect opportunity to implement a physical barrier instead, thereby minimizing the use of chemical treatments.  The barrier is designed to capture sea lamprey as they travel up the Pike River to spawn, while allowing non-target species to pass freely.  This barrier is the first of its kind to be implemented outside of the Great Lakes region.

“Sea lamprey control is critical to maintaining and improving both fish populations and fishing opportunities in Lake Champlain,” Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources Deb Markowitz said. “This new, one-of-a-kind barrier will build on our recent successes in lamprey control, and is further evidence that the collaboration between our Congressional Delegation, the states of Vermont and New York, our federal partners, and the Province of Quebec, is remarkably successful.”

The barrier will officially open on Thursday, May 15. 

In addition to this project the GLFC will provide $3 million for other Lake Champlain projects this year.  The GLFC works on Canada/U.S. international fisheries issues in the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain.  In his role overseeing GLFC appropriations, Leahy continues to champion the needs of Lake Champlain and the Great Lakes.

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