Chippewa, Pine rivers to be treated for sea lampreys

sea_lamprey_770-760x430Federal wildlife officials will be applying a series of sea lamprey treatments to the Chippewa and Pine rivers in central Michigan over the next week.

Sea Lampreys use many Michigan rivers – including the Chippewa and Pine in central Michigan, as breeding grounds.

Lamprey larvae stay in the rivers for several years before migrating downstream to the Great Lakes, where they latch onto and feed off of larger fish.

According to Shawn Nowicki with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, when lampreys are in their larvae stage, they are actually harmless.

“That’s when we target them with the lampricide and kill the larvae,” Nowicki said, “before they go through a metamorphosis and become parasites and move out to the lake, to where they would feed on the Lake Trout and other native fish.”

Nowicki said the lampricides that are being applied are specially formulated pesticides that only target sea lampreys. The treatments are 98 percent effective.

The treatments are being applied to tributaries of the Chippewa and Pine rivers this week. Treatments begin on the main branches next Tuesday.