Streams set for lamprey treatment
Written by The Mining Journal   
Monday, 27 June 2005 10:44
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service technicians and biologists will begin treatments to kill larval stage sea lamprey today on sections of the Iron and Salmon Trout rivers in Marquette County and the Laughing Whitefish River in Alger County.

The agency's permit for applying the treatment last through July 8. The treatment will be completed in two or three days. The exact days of application will depend on weather and stream conditions.

Sea lamprey, in their larval stage, live in the bottom sediments of Great Lakes tributaries. The chemical used in the treatments, abbreviated TFM, is applied under a state of Michigan permit and meets Michigan's water quality criteria, the USFWS said.

Sea lamprey larvae hatch from eggs laid by adult lampreys in gravel nests and drift to silty bottom areas where they burrow and live for several years. During this life stage they are vulnerable to TFM treatments.

Failure to eliminate larvae in streams allows the lampreys to transform into parasitic adults, which then travel to the Great Lakes and kill fish, including lake trout. Tributaries must be treated every three to five years to try to eliminate sea lamprey populations.

TFM is not harmful to humans, birds or animals, when diluted in stream water to concentrations needed to kill sea lampreys. However, unnecessary exposure to the lampricide during treatments should be avoided. Swimming in waters with TFM is discouraged.

Agricultural irrigation must be suspended during and immediately following treatments, as water containing TFM may damage crops. Do not drink stream water during the treatments and anglers should not eat fish caught during the treatments, or for 24 hours following the TFM applications. Fish or other organisms confined in cages in the treated stream should be moved to untreated sites prior to the TFM applications.

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