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Lake Champlain Fisheries Meeting Summary for August 2004

August 31, 2004

1. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) barrier dam planning.

  • Jason and Jennifer from ACOE provided some background material on the Corps' role in sea lamprey barrier dam construction. They were in the area to tour the potential barrier dam sites with Dave Tilton.
  • There will be a draft preliminary restoration plan sent out near the end of September. The plan will be sent through Dave Tilton, and will address all potential barrier dam projects in the Champlain basin. The preliminary site plan will strengthen the '05 Fiscal Year request for barrier dam funding.
  • Feasibility studies are paid for by the Corps, but construction is done on a 75:25 (Federal : Local) match basis. Any required property purchases must be done with local money, but the amount can be credited as part of the match.
  • Vermont's Senator Leahy and NY's Congressmen Sweeney may be able to help secure ACOE funding for barrier dam projects. Dave Tilton suggested that NY initiate contacts with Congressman Sweeney regarding the issue.

2. Winooski River sea lamprey control treatment.

  • Brian Chipman indicated Vermont is still hopeful of conducting a treatment of the Winooski this fall .
  • A final Proposal was submitted requesting modifications of the most problematic of the original permit conditions.
  • There was discussion of whether to ask to modify the 97.0'lake level maximum specified in the permit to a higher threshold; Brian was to inquire whether the Department of Fish and Wildlife would pursue this option.
  • There was discussion regarding the "replication" aspect of the lake sturgeon cage studies to be conducted during the treatment, relative to the number of parents that were used to produce the hatchery's sturgeon (few parents could mean impaired replication due to lack of genetic variability regardless of the number of sturgeon in each cage).
  • VT will require staff assistance from NY and USFWS for the treatment; Brian will get back to the Cooperative with specific requirements.

3. Delta treatments.

  • Dave Nettles summarized the delta lamprey sampling conducted this summer and last; no treatment required on the Boquet delta but the Saranac delta has slightly more lamprey habitat than we have chemical to treat.
  • A schedule has been distributed.

4. Great Chazy River and Mount Hope Brook treatments.

  • Lance Durfey reviewed the tentative treatment dates; Gary Neuderfer has distributed a draft schedule for comment.
  • Several people indicated they had not received an electronic copy of the draft schedule, and representatives within each agency were asked to forward copies to those who did not receive copies.

5. Morpion Weir.

  • Brad Young described the larval sea lamprey population sampling conducted this summer in Morpion Stream and the Pike River. Densities were much higher in Morpion Stream than in the Pike.
  • A Siting and Feasibility Report is being finalized. Two potential weir designs were investigated (Automated Variable Crest and Seasonal Variable Crest); the Seasonal Variable Crest weir was recommended.
  • The completed site feasibility study will be submitted to the Basin Program shortly, and this same report will accompany a permit application this fall to Quebec for barrier construction on Morpion Stream.
  • If all goes well, construction could begin in 2005. A barrier constructed in 2005, without any other control measures, would not have any impact on wounding rates until 2010.

6. Operational Strategy.

  • Craig Martin reviewed the assignments to the Technical Committee resulting from the February 18, 2004 meeting of the Policy Committee.
  • One of the tasks was to develop a technical team to develop an operational strategy involving all three agencies. To that end, Craig Martin recommended there be a single point-person from each agency for scheduling and treatment planning purposes. This would hopefully avoid some of the communication difficulties we have had in previous treatments during the treatment scheduling and planning stages. Chet MacKenzie agreed, and it was recommended by the group the idea be instituted for 2005.
  • Craig will also modify and distribute the draft strategic plan outline that was already distributed and commented on.

7. Updates

  • Dave Nettles summarized the surveys for larval sea lamprey in historically negative NY streams. Only single sea lamprey were captured in Silver Stream and Corbeau Creek; all other tributaries sampled were negative for sea lamprey.
  • Margaret Docker (University of Windsor) has conducted work to find a genetic marker to differentiate between silver and northern brook lamprey. So far no differentiating marker has been found.

8. Alewife in Lake St. Catherine

  • Madeleine Lyttle distributed the Alewife Eradication Feasibility Assessment prepared by Robert Spateholts, and an alewife informational sheet summarizing some of the concerns and issues observed in other waters where alewife have become established.
  • There was general discussion regarding the wisdom of potentially reclaiming Lake St. Catherine, given that alewife have been captured in Lake Champlain.
  • The group agreed to review the feasibility assessment and make a recommendation based on the biological aspects of the issue.
  • Copies of the feasibility study will also be distributed to the Management Committee; Vermont Fish and Wildlife administrators can provide feedback on the issue as appropriate.

9. Other

  • Bernie Pientka told the group that forage fish assessment was being conducted in Lake Champlain with equipment borrowed from Cornell University. The Vermont Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit recently acquired equipment to be used for forage fish monitoring in Lake Champlain.
  • Dave Nettles asked the group if they were aware of any sauger being sampled in the recent past in Lake Champlain. The most recent sightings were from Vermont Fish and Wildlife's creel surveys conducted in the 1990s.

10. Upcoming meetings

  • Wednesday, December 15, 2004 at the Ed Weed Fish Culture Station.
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