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Great Lakes Article:

Vermont to use chemicals against lampreys
The Associated Press
Published June 16, 2004


BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- Vermont will move forward this fall with a program to kill lamprey that are making a comeback in Lake Champlain and threaten certain fish.

Gov. Jim Douglas announced Tuesday that the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources has issued permits needed by the state's Fish and Wildlife Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency to put as much as 2,000 gallons of chemicals into the lower Winooski River to control the fish-killing parasites.

The Winooski River was scheduled to be treated last fall, but the state Health Department raised concerns about the pesticide that would be used along the populated river stretch. Douglas said the concerns about trifluoromethyl-nitrophenol, or TFM, have been alleviated.

"We've worked with the Department of Health, and the agency is moving forward and issuing the permit," Douglas said. "The problem of lamprey is a prodigious one, and it's gotten worse in recent years."

Lampreys are underwater parasites, attaching themselves to fish with suction-cup mouths and draining the host fish of blood. Lampreys often target gamefish such as salmon, trout and bass but have been documented in Lake Champlain preying on sturgeon, an endangered species. The Winooski River is a major producer of lampreys.

The number of lampreys in Lake Champlain was controlled during an eight-year experimental program that concluded in 1997. Fishery officials have been trying to establish a long-term control program for a few years.

Douglas was at Burlington's waterfront Tuesday to kick off the 23rd annual Lake Champlain International Fishing Derby, which begins this weekend. About 6,500 anglers are expected to fish in the derby, and most of them have been advocates for increased lamprey control on the big lake.

"They better do something pretty quick," said Vince Dattilio, who runs a tackle shop in South Burlington. "Not only are there very few fish left; it's getting to the point where these things are starting to attach to swimmers."

TFM, a pesticide that kills the immature, larval form of sea lampreys living in tributaries, has been used in Great Lakes lamprey control programs for more than 40 years. It was used extensively during Champlain's experimental lamprey control program and was applied in 2002 to Lewis Creek in Ferrisburgh.

 

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