Smoke signals. (Grand Ronde, Or.) 19??-current, December 15, 2017, Page 8, Image 8

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

S moke S ignals
DECEMBER 15, 2017
Concern was lamprey's ability to pass through barriers
LAMPREY continued
from front page
“When you could literally pick
fish off of a wall 200 years ago, it
was a pretty special deal to Tribes,”
Dirksen said.
Tribal Council member Jack
Giffen Jr. has been encouraging the
Natural Resources Department in
its efforts.
“This is awesome news,” he said
of the recent discovery. “I was
excited. Our crew stepped up and
started transplanting lamprey.
There have probably been 100
different studies, but our Natural
Resources Department is out doing
something about recovery. I fully
support however they decide to go
about it.”
Natural Resources’ research proj-
ect, with the help of Army Corps
of Engineers biologists Douglas
Garletts and Chad Helms, sought
to answer if lamprey planted above
the Fall Creek Reservoir could sur-
vive the winter, successfully spawn,
rear successfully in Fall Creek and
if juveniles could make their way
out of the reservoir during the sea-
sonal drawdown.
Due to declining levels of Pacific
lamprey, the fish was listed as a
federal species of concern and has
been studied by a workgroup of
federal, state and Tribal agencies.
The discovery of juvenile lamprey
migrating out of the reservoir coin-
cidentally came just before a five-
year Pacific Lamprey Conservation
Agreement policy review conference
held in Portland. The group in-
cludes officials from various Tribes,
as well as biologists and others from
governmental agencies.
“It was incredibly helpful to
make our case that the juvenile
lamprey could rear in the stream,”
Wakeland said. “They were able to
spawn, reproduce and rear. It was
a suitable habitat.”
At the conference, one of the
biggest areas of concern regarding
lamprey was difficulty in passage
through barriers, such as dams.
For example, there are 13 dams in
the Willamette River Basin that
Courtesy photo by Terri Berling
Tribal Fish and Wildlife Program Manager Kelly Dirksen recently announced
that juvenile lamprey are migrating out of Fall Creek Reservoir, which
is located about 20 miles southeast of Eugene. The lamprey, this one
included, are believed to have been spawned from adult lamprey that were
transplanted above Fall Creek by the Tribe’s Natural Resources Department.
block more than 400 miles of viable
stream habitat and make lamprey
recovery difficult.
Natural Resources Department
findings demonstrate that these
obstacles can be overcome.
“This is a step in the right direc-
tion to say that maybe those 400
miles are not off-limits,” Dirksen
said. “This is a research project, but
also advancing recovery of the fish.
This is the first time in 50 years
lamprey have been at Fall Creek
since the dam was built in 1967,
and it is all because of the Confed-
erated Tribes of Grand Ronde …
I think it shows the Tribe’s lead-
ership on this issue and is a great
success in Grand Ronde’s ceded
lands. This moves from a research
project to actually increasing the
production of lamprey.”
The project will be continuing
until 2020 to capture the full sev-
en-year lifespan of the lamprey.
“We have one more year of mov-
ing the fish and we hope to narrow
down what they are doing to mi-
grate out and see if it can be applied
to other reservoirs,” Dirksen said.
“The (Willamette) Falls is a critical
piece for the Tribe, as both a histor-
ic and cultural site.”
Grand Ronde Tribal member
Bryan Mercier leads the Fish and
Wildlife Program for the Bonneville
Power Administration.
“My dad was a Kalapuya de-
scendent and my first job was in
Grand Ronde digging trail as a
Youth Crew member,” he said. “I
have come full circle to be in this
position of influence at Bonne-
ville. I am here today to reaffirm
the commitment to the lamprey
partnership. We have lots of staff
dedicated to this mission who have
lots of passion … I hope we can
continue to be frank and straight
with each other.”
Ceded Lands Program Manager
Michael Karnosh said that knowl-
edge is important, but he agrees
with the sentiment that the group
can’t “study the lamprey to death.”
“I want to emphasize applying the
knowledge toward seeking results,”
Karnosh said. “We know upstream
and downstream passage are prob-
lems. We are learning more about
that with each project and also we
appreciate all of the partners that
have come together today.”
Conference participants included
Tribal representatives from Ore-
gon, Washington, California and
Alaska, along with officials from
the Bonneville Power Adminis-
tration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Services, the Institute for Tribal
Government, Pacific Lamprey Fish
Habitat Partnership, National Fish
Habitat Partnership and Western
Fishes, among others.
“It is fair to say we learned a lot
and been convinced of the value of
this species,” Mercier said. “The
lessons we have learned about the
importance of lamprey contributed
to the funding of it … this is the
right thing to do.”
Some of the Tribal representa-
tives said that educating youth
about the cultural importance of
lamprey is crucial to ensuring its
“Our younger people today can’t
seem to visualize the life we had
as younger people,” said Warm
Springs Tribal representative
Bruce Jim. “But it was part of
our growing up in our culture. We
grew up in moccasins and running
around barefoot. To see that disap-
pear in our lifetimes is sad. Today,
we are here to talk about the lam-
prey. But we don’t need to be sitting
here 10 years in the future, saying
this is what used to be here in these
rivers. Teach your children the law
of the land.” 
Tribal Court is now issuing marriage licenses and is able to perform
marriage ceremonies for a filing fee of $40. For questions regarding sched-
uling, please contact the Tribal Court at 503-879-2303. 
Pacific lamprey 5-year review
During the Portland conference,
various Tribal and governmental
representatives talked about their
commitment to lamprey recovery.
Free Playgroup in
Grand Ronde!
When: First Thursday of each
month 10:00 am-11:30 am
Where: CTGR – Community
Service Center 9615 Grand Ronde
Road Grand Ronde, OR 97347
Who: Parents and caregivers of
children under 5 years.
Why: Come to play, have a snack
and have fun!
Ad created by George Valdez