Conservation Challenges and Research Needs for Pacific Lamprey in the Columbia River Basin

By Benjamin J. Clemens, Richard J. Beamish, Kelly C. Coates, Margaret F. Docker,  Jason B. Dunham, Ann E. Gray, Jon E. Hess, Jeffrey C. Jolley, Ralph T. Lampman, Brian J. McIlraith, Mary L. Moser, Joshua G. Murauskas, David L. G. Noakes, Howard A. Schaller, Carl B. Schreck, Steven J. Starcevich, Bianca Streif, Stan J. van de Wetering, Joy Wade, Laurie A. Weitkamp,Lance A. Wyss.

The Pacific Lamprey Entosphenus tridentatus, an anadromous fish native to the northern Pacific Ocean and bordering freshwater habitats, has recently experienced steep declines in abundance and range contractions along the West Coast of North America. During the early 1990s, Native American tribes recognized the declining numbers of lamprey and championed their importance. In 2012, 26 entities signed a conservation agreement to coordinate and implement restoration and research for Pacific Lamprey. Regional plans have identified numerous threats, monitoring needs, and strategies to conserve and restore Pacific Lamprey during their freshwater life stages.

Within the category of habitat, we include functionality of dynamic, complex stream processes, floodplain integrity, water quantity and quality, dredg- ing, and dewatering.

Prime among these are needs to improve lamprey passage, restore freshwater habitats, educate stakeholders, and implement lamprey-specific research and management protocols. Key unknowns include range-wide trends in status, population dynamics, population delineation, limiting factors, and marine influences. We synthesize these key unknowns, with a focus on the freshwater life stages of lamprey in the Columbia River basin.

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