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NEWS FROM THE REGIONS

Manistique River Sea Lamprey Barrier
Region 3: August 20, 2009

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Sea Lamprey Management Program (SLMP), in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is planning the construction of a sea lamprey barrier in the Manistique River to replace a now deteriorated structure built during the early 1900s.  The Manistique River, located in the upper peninsula of Michigan (Figure 1), is a major contributor of destructive parasitic sea lampreys to Lake Michigan and has the potential to produce more larval sea lampreys than any other Great Lakes tributary.  

Historically, the Manistique Papers Inc. dam (Figure 2), located 1.6 miles upstream of Lake Michigan, denied sea lampreys access to 273 river miles of the Manistique River and about 260 acres of preferred larval sea lamprey habitat from 1919 to 1974.  This dam, constructed during 1919 to generate hydroelectric power for logging, was abandoned for power generation during 1985, decommissioned during 1991, and today is in a state of disrepair.  Holes in the dam have allowed spawning phase adult sea lampreys to pass and gain access to spawning habitat upstream, and the subsequent infestation of larval sea lampreys throughout most of the watershed.   

Once the SLMP detected that sea lampreys escaped upstream and the barrier had deteriorated, the river was treated and the dam was patched to prevent further infestation of the watershed.  However, during the late 1990’s, the dam deteriorated to the point where escapement upstream was consistent and significant enough that sea lampreys began colonizing the watershed.  Consequently, the SLMP has spent a large amount of time and money trying to remove sea lampreys from the river through lampricide treatments.

Building a barrier on the Manistique River is crucial to sea lamprey management in Lake Michigan for several reasons.  First, the number of parasitic lampreys in the lake is significantly greater than target levels and the Manistique River is one of the major contributors to that population.  Second, because of its large size and numerous tributaries, the river is difficult to treat.  As a result of these difficulties, larval sea lampreys survive treatments, transform into parasites (known as transformers), enter Lake Michigan, and feed on fish, primarily lake trout, Chinook salmon, and lake whitefish.  Because of residual sea lampreys that survive, the river requires treatment more often than the average 4 year cycle that other tributaries follow.  Third, lampricide treatments and larval assessment surveys of the river are costly.  

Replacing the deteriorating dam with a sea lamprey barrier would reduce the length of stream to be treated from 278 to 1.6 miles and eliminate most of the residual sea lampreys that survive treatment.  Construction of the new sea lamprey barrier is scheduled for 2012. 

Contact Info: Cheryl Kaye, 906.226.1217, Cheryl_Kaye@fws.gov

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Stephenson Wetland Restoration – Bayfield County, Wisconsin
Region 3: August 13, 2009

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program (PFWP) wetland restoration project was completed on the Stephenson property in July of 2009.  The project is located in Bayfield County, Wisconsin, within the Lake Superior Watershed Focus Area for Region 3’s PFWP, and consisted of 2 wetland restoration sites totaling three acres.  A PFWP Habitat Development Agreement was signed to protect the restored area for a period of 10 years.  This newly restored and protected wetland will provide ideal resting and nesting conditions for many species of migratory songbirds and waterfowl.  Species benefiting from the habitat restoration and protection project include migratory waterfowl such as wood duck, mallard, and American black duck, as well as migratory songbirds such as sedge wren and Le Conte’s sparrow.  The restoration is on former agricultural land adjacent to land owned by Whittlesey Creek National Wildlife Refuge (NWR).  Mike Mlynarek from the Whittlesey Creek NWR and Ted Koehler from the Ashland National Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office worked in close coordination to accomplish the restoration and improve the Whittlesey Creek watershed.  Wetlands have been restored on the neighboring refuge property during the past two years, and these private land restorations will add to the complex in the local area.  Waterfowl surveys conducted on Whittlesey Creek NWR’s newly restored wetlands show use by a variety of ducks, geese and other birds.  It is expected that the wetlands on the Stephenson property will see a similar amount of waterfowl use. 

Contact Info: Midwest Region Public Affairs, 612-713-5313, charles_traxler@fws.gov

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Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Restores Tidal Wetlands and Connects People with Nature
Region 5: May 27, 2009

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) recently restored 5.8 acres of tidal marsh on its Barren Island Division.  Barren Island is one of the few remaining islands in the Chesapeake Bay, most have been lost to sea-level rise, erosion and land subsidence.  This island serves as important habitat for estuarine fish and shellfish, waterfowl and nesting colonial waterbirds.  Additionally, the island serves as a buffer, protecting the community of Hooper's Island from erosive wave action from the Chesapeake Bay. 

This project is an inspiring example of partnerships overcoming conservation challenges.  Partners for this project include the National Aquarium Baltimore, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Maryland Conservation Corps, Friends of Blackwater NWR, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Student Conservation Association and a multitude of community volunteers.  Blackwater NWR worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide suitable locations for the placement of clean dredge material from the Honga River and Tar Bay.  This dredge material replaces marsh lost to erosion and forms the foundation for the restoration.  The National Aquarium at Baltimore played a keystone role in acquiring marsh grasses and organizing volunteers to plant over 42,000 plugs of marsh grass.  Additionally, students from the Conservation Internship Program planted another 8,000 plants.  Together, these organizations partnered to overcome the daunting challenge of restoring the ecological, economic and cultural benefits of an otherwise rapidly eroding island.

Additionally, through our partnership with the National Aquarium, three different school groups helped with the Barren Island restoration effort.  Some of these students  raised their own grasses at their schools and brought them out and to plant on site.  More than 90 school children from schools in Anne Arundel, Montgomery, and Talbot Counties in Maryland, participated in a day of environmental education and habitat restoration.

Contact Info: Jennifer Lapis, (413) 253-8303, jennifer_lapis@fws.gov

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Dynamics of solar power for Passive Integrated Transponder tags looked at.
Region 3: May 2, 2009

Ashland National Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office fishery biologist Glenn Miller recently attended a training session on Introductions to Solar Systems, sponsored by Midwest Renewable Energy Association.  The training was held at the Northland College campus Ashland, WI, and basically introduced the basic concepts of solar generation and possible uses of solar power.

The full day training covered solar power from its origin to present day, and then went into how solar power is harnessed.  Attendees were taught how to assess sites for solar power generation and possible designs and configurations for the sites.  The Ashland NFWCO is currently using solar power to run the PIT tag detection stations located on the Lake Superior shorelines.  All of the sites are remote locations with no power available except for solar and wind.  By using the two alternative energy sources available it is hoped that the PIT tag stations will be able to run year round gathering data on tagged brook trout and other salmonid species.

Contact Info: Midwest Region Public Affairs, 612-713-5313, charles_traxler@fws.gov

 
       
Last updated: September 22, 2009
Fisheries and Habitat Conservation
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