Lamoille River treated for sea lamprey control

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — The Lamoille River was being treated on Tuesday with a pesticide to control sea lamprey that prey on native trout, land-locked Atlantic salmon and other species in Lake Champlain, federal wildlife officials said Tuesday.

Controlling sea lamprey in the lake has been a more than 30-year cooperative effort by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Cooperative staff were treating the river with a chemical designed to target lamprey larvae, officials said. The Winooski, Missisquoi and LaPlatte rivers were also being treated this fall.

“Delaying or eliminating treatment of populations of sea lamprey in any tributary to Lake Champlain would likely result in an increase in the sea lamprey population in the lake that wound and kill fish, and it would hamper more than three decades of conservation successes,” said Bradley Young, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist.

Yearly assessments continue to show improvements in fish populations but wounding rates are still above target levels, officials have said.

Officials recommend that the treated water not be used for drinking, swimming, fishing, irrigation, or livestock watering while water-use advisories are in effect.