PAGE 9 MAZINA’IGAN SUMMER 2017 On the low shoulder of the Bad River Falls, a GLIFWC Great Lakes Fishery crew lowers a sea lamprey trap into the water. The traps are set strategically along the falls where migrating sea lamprey attempt to move upriver to spawn. (Lee Cloud photo) • SEA LAMPREY • Boardman River project aims to block lamprey, support fishery Underway in Michigan 1836 Ceded Territory Traverse City, Mich.—A consortium of fisherymanagementandresearchinstitutionshas selected Lower Michigan’s Boardman River as the site for a first-of-its-kind project to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of technologies to pass desirable fish around river barriers while simultaneously blocking harmful species, most notably the destructive sea lamprey. The ten-year project, led by the bi-national GreatLakesFisheryCommission,willtakeplace at the Boardman River’s Union Street Dam. The initiativehasgainedwidespreadattention,asles- sons learned may be applied to other rivers and optimized to create selective bi-directional fish passage at new sites. The Traverse City Com- mission unanimously endorsed the technology demonstration and evaluation project during a meeting last fall.  The Great Lakes Basin contains hundreds of thousands of barriers, some dating to the beginning of European settlement in the region. Although the basin’s dams often serve industrial, recreational, aesthetic, and ecological purposes, they also block fish access to streams. Many Great Lakes fish move up streams at some point in their life to live, feed, and reproduce. Barriers segment and disrupt natural stream ecological functions, which affect aquatic species and inhibit fish movement while undermining sound fishery management. However, barriers also play an essential role in protecting fish from harmful invasive species and fish disease. Sea lampreys, a noxious, destructive pest, for instance, are denied access to tens of thousands of miles of prime spawning habitat by effective barriers. In fact, without barriers to block sea lampreys, the $7 billion Great Lakes fishery would not exist as we know it today. The Great Lakes are not alone in coping with the legacy of barriers, as manag- ers globally struggle with rehabilitating fisheries in disconnected river ecosystems while managing around invasive species.  “One of the major fishery management challenges of our time is to find ways to allow desirable fish to pass barriers while denying passage to harmful species like sea lamprey,” said Commission Chair David Ullrich. “This project will bring together the best minds, the best fishery managers, and the best engineers to iden- tify promising technologies, test those technologies in a real-world setting, and evaluate whether those technologies can be applied elsewhere. If we are success- ful, we will demonstrate that we can simultaneously pass desirable fish and block harmful species, melding for the first time those two primary fishery management objectives.”  The project itself will involve a steering committee of fishery experts and engineers who will identify potential technologies and then modify Traverse City’s Union Street Dam to demonstrate whether the technologies suc- cessfully pass desirable fish while also blocking undesirable species. The intent is to construct one or more channels in association with the existing dam site so that a suite of tools and technologies can be integrated for fish passage and invasive spe- cies control. For instance, natural alarm cues or pheromones could be used to guide fish toward passage devices or to guide sea lampreys into traps.Computerrecognitionoffishspeciescould be used to automatically sort different species, passing those that should be passed and block- ing those that should not. Tools already under development in the Great Lakes region could be used, though the steering com- mittee will also scour the globe for other potential technologies.  “Traverse City’s Union Street Dam, near the mouth of the Boardman River, was selected as this project’s site for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is because the project aligns with existing restoration objectives,” said Gary Whelan, MichiganDepartmentofNaturalResources(MDNR)–FisheriesDivisionProgram Manager. “Several dams have already been removed on the Boardman River, and further connectivity to Lake Michigan is a major goal.” Scott Heintzelman, Central Lake Michigan Unit Manager, MDNR added: “The Boardman River is excellent habitat for many of our prized species such as brook trout, lake sturgeon, and walleye, just to name a few. It is also prime sea lamprey habitat. The Union Street Dam does block sea lampreys effectively, though its fish ladder is poor in passing desirable fish.” Frank Dituri, Ecologist for the Grand Traverse Band and Chairman of the BoardmanRiverDamsImplementationTeam,added:“TheGrandTraverseBandof Ottawa and Chippewa Indians has been a proud partner in the process of restoring the Boardman River. It is exciting to think that this river, which is tremendously important to the Tribe, could usher in a new era in fishery management.”  Lieutenant Colonel Dennis Sugrue, Commander, Detroit District of theArmy Corps of Engineers, said: “This project is a model of how federal, state, tribal, and local leadership can combine resources and work to a shared goal of habitat and wildlife protection and restoration. This project has a regional benefit, as its out- comesmaybeappliedacrosstheGreatLakesonvariousotherrestorationprojects.”  Ullrich warned that while success is not guaranteed, the potential benefits warrant the effort: “We are blazing new ground here, and we are well aware that things might not go as planned. We might learn that sorting a variety of fish spe- Mouth of a sea lamprey. (reprinted from Wikipedia) Pheromones may be used to guide fish toward pas- sage devices, or to guide sea lampreys into traps. Funding for this project is from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. On the cusp of the spring spawning season, US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and GLIFWC specialists discussed plans for invasive sea lamprey populationmonitoringinLakeSuperiortributaryrivers.GLIFWCtechnicians plan to transport lampreys captured from the Bad River in aerated coolers (pictured center frame) to a downriver location for release. The ratio between recaptured lampreys—marked with a fin clip—and unmarked lamprey helps biologists determine population trends and how well control efforts are working. Pictured from left GLIFWC Technician Ronnie Parisien; Sean Lewandoski & Nicholas Scripps (USFWS); Mike Plucinski, GLIFWC fisheries technician. (COR photo) Setting the Trap (See Sea Lamprey, page 14)