Wildlife service to treat Poplar River for lamprey

Lampricide applications are slated to begin Tuesday, June 7, and are expected to take a week to complete.

Sea lampreys, an invasive species, first entered the Great Lakes in the 1920s.
Katie Rohman / Duluth News Tribune
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SUPERIOR — U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel will apply lampricides to the Poplar River in Douglas County tentatively starting Tuesday, June 7, in accordance with Wisconsin-issued permits.

Applications to kill sea lamprey larvae burrowed in the stream bottom will be complete in about seven days. Application dates may be changed based upon local weather or stream conditions near the time of treatment.

Sea lamprey larvae live in certain Great Lakes tributaries and transform to parasitic adults that migrate to the Great Lakes and kill fish. Failure to kill the larvae in streams would result in significant damage to the Great Lakes fishery. Infested tributaries must be treated every three to five years with lampricides to control sea lamprey populations.

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency and Health Canada Pest Management Regulatory Agency have reviewed human health and environmental safety data for lampricides, and in 2003 concluded that the lampricides — Lampricid and Bayluscide — pose no unreasonable risk to the general population and the environment when applied at concentrations necessary to control larval sea lampreys. However, as with any pesticide, the public is advised to use discretion and minimize unnecessary exposure.

Lampricides are selectively toxic to sea lampreys, but a few fish, insect and broadleaf plants are sensitive.


People confining bait fish or other organisms in stream water are advised to use an alternate water source and agricultural irrigation must be suspended for 24 hours during and following treatment.

Since 1958, the program has contributed to the maintenance of the $7 billion Great Lakes sport and commercial fisheries.

For additional information in the U.S. call 800-472-9212 and in Canada call 800-553-9091. TTY users may reach the Marquette or Ludington Biological Stations through the Michigan State Relay Service at 800-649-3777.

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