[Federal Register: December 22, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 245)]
[Page 71813-71814]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Dates and Location for Public Scoping Meetings

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior, New York State Department 
of Environmental Conservation; Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.

ACTION: Notice of dates and locations for public scoping meetings on 
supplemental environmental impact statement for a sea lamprey control 
proposal in Lake Champlain.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in cooperation with the 
Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife and the New York State 
Department of Environmental Conservation announces its intention to 
hold four public scoping meetings on the Supplemental Environmental 
Impact Statement for sea lamprey control in Lake Champlain. The SEIS 
will evaluate a proposal to continue sea lamprey control in Lake 
Champlain, to maintain reduced levels of sea lamprey and achieve 
further reductions. The SEIS will be prepared pursuant to section 
102(2)(c) of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, in 
accordance with the Council on environmental Quality regulations for 
implementing NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508). The Service invites other 
Federal agencies, states, Indian tribes, local governments, and the 
general public to attend the meetings and submit comments or 
suggestions concerning the scope of the issues to be addressed, 
alternatives to be analyzed, and the environmental impacts to be 
addressed in the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. 
Oral and written comments will be considered equally in preparation of 
the DSEIS. Those not desiring to submit comments or suggestions at this 
time, but who would like to receive a copy of the DSEIS for review, 
should send a request to Mr. Dave Tilton at the address given below.

DATES AND LOCATIONS: All written comments related to the scope and 
content of the DSEIS should be submitted to the Service by February 4, 
2000, to the address given below. The scoping meetings will be held at 
the following times and locations. All meetings will start at 7 p.m. 
and run until 9:30 p.m.

New York Locations

    Date: January 5, 2000.
    Location: Clinton County Government Center, Old Court House, 2nd 
Floor Meeting Room, 1333 Margaret Street, Plattsburgh, NY 12901.
    Date: January 6, 2000.
    Location: Ticonderoga High School, Calkins Place, Ticonderoga, NY 

Vermont Locations

    Date: January 10, 2000
    Location: Middlebury Union High School, 73 Charles Avenue, 
Middlebury, VT 05753.
    Date: January 11, 2000
    Location: Milton High School, 17 Rebecca Lander Drive, Milton, VT 

ADDRESSES: Written comments and requests to be included on a mailing 
list of persons interested in receiving the DSEIS should be sent to Mr. 
Dave Tilton, Project Leader, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Lake 
Champlain Office, 11 Lincoln St., Essex Junction, Vermont 05452. 
Alternatively, comments may be submitted electronically to the 
following address: dave__tilton@fws.gov.

Lake Champlain Office, 11 Lincoln St., Essex Junction, Vermont 05452, 
802-951-6313. FAX 802-951-6315. New York contact person is Mr. Lary 
Nashett, Supervising Aquatic Biologist, New York Department of 
Environmental Conservation, Region, 5, P.O. Box 296, Ray Brook, New 
York 12977, 518-897-1333. Vermont contact person is Mr. Tim Hess, 
Director of Fisheries, Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, 103 
South Main Street, Waterbury, Vermont 05671, 802-241-3700.


[[Page 71814]]


    Sea lamprey are primitive marine invaders to Lake Champlain. They 
are parasitic fish that feed on the body fluid of other fish resulting 
in reduced growth and often the death of host fish. A substantial body 
of information collected on Lake Champlain indicates sea lamprey have a 
profound negative impact upon the lake's fishery resources and have 
suppressed efforts to establish new and historical sportfisheries. In 
1990, the Service, NYSDEC, and VTDFW initiated an eight-year 
experimental sea lamprey control program for Lake Champlain. The 
experiment program treated tributaries and deltas of Lake Champlain 
with the chemical lampricides TFM and Bayer 73, which substantially 
reduced larval sea lamprey numbers in treated waters. The program 
included monitoring and assessment of the effects of sea lamprey 
reduction on the characteristics of certain fish populations, the sport 
fishery and the area's growth and economy. A set of thirty evaluation 
standards were established. Overall, the experimental sea lamprey 
control program met or exceeded the majority of the standards. In 
addition to this evaluation, the cooperating agencies assessed the 
effects of the program on nontarget organisms.
    Two rounds of treatments were planned for each significantly 
infested stream and delta. From 1990 through 1996 24 TFM treatments 
were conducted on 14 Lake Champlain tributaries, and 9 Bayer 73 (5% 
granular) treatments were conducted on five deltas. A cumulative total 
of approximately 141 miles and 1,220 delta acres were treated.
    In summary, trap catches of spawning-phase sea lamprey declined by 
80-90%; nest counts were reduced by 57%. Sixteen of twenty-two TFM 
treatments reduced ammocoetes at index stations to less than 10% of 
pre-treatment levels. Eight of the 9 Bayer treatments resulted in mean 
mortality rates over 85% among caged ammocoetes. Relatively small 
numbers of nontarget amphibian and fish species were killed. Adverse 
effects on nontarget species were higher for Bayer treatments than TFM. 
Native mussels, snails and some other macroinvertebrates were 
significantly affected after the 1991 Bayer 73 treatments of the 
Ausable and Little Ausable deltas in New York. However, they recovered 
to pre-treatment levels within 4 years. American brook lamprey also 
experienced substantial treatment-related mortality. Yet, the finding 
of dead American brook lamprey in second-round treatments in each 
stream where they were negatively affected during the first-round 
suggested survival or immigration was adequate to maintain their 
populations. Wounding rates on lake trout and landlocked Atlantic 
salmon were reduced in the main lake basin, and catches of both species 
increased. A significant increase in survival of 3-4 year lake trout 
was noted; survival of older fish improved but did not change 
significantly. Returns of Atlantic salmon to tributaries increased 
significantly after treatment. Changes in wounding rates on brown and 
rainbow trout could not be evaluated, but angler catches increased 
since 1990. Catch per unit effort of rainbow smelt, the major forage 
species for salmonids, decreased significantly at 1 or 2 sampling 
stations in the main lake basin and in Malletts Bay, but not at other 
locations; length-at-age also decreased at most sites. Evaluation of 
angler responses to the program indicated a favorable, 3.5:1 economic 
benefit:cost ratio.
    A comprehensive Evaluation of an Eight-Year Program of Sea Lamprey 
Control in Lake Champlain provides a detailed description of the 
results of the project. It is available on the FWS web-sites at--
    www.fws.gov/r51cfwro/lamprey/lamprey.html., or from any of the 
contacts for further information listed above.

Decision To Be Made

    The responsible officials in the FWS, NYSDEC, and VTDFW must decide 
whether to continue sea lamprey control for Lake Champlain. In 
addition, if sea lamprey control will continue, the agencies must also 
consider the following:
    (1) Should the following list be established as the long-term 
program objectives?
    (a) Maintain reduced levels of sea lamprey on Main Lake and South 
Lake portions of Lake Champlain and achieve further Main Lake-South 
Lake reductions by targeting new areas where sea lamprey infestations 
are found.
    (b) Augment sea lamprey control activities in Mallets Bay and 
Inland Sea areas of Lake Champlain and reduce sea lamprey population 
levels and associated impacts there.
    (c) Employ an integrated approach to continuing sea lamprey control 
using lampricides and nonchemical means.
    (2) What mitigation and monitoring measures are required for sound 
resource management?
    (3) Is sea lamprey control in the best interest for the resource 
and citizens of the states of New York and Vermont?
    The Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision is 
expected to be released by April, 2001. The Responsible Officials will 
make a decision regarding this proposal after considering public 
comments, and the environmental consequences displayed in the Final 
Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, applicable laws, 
regulations, and policies. The decision and supporting reason will be 
documented in the Record of Decision.

    Dated: December 9, 1999.
Ronald E. Lambertson,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 99-33186 Filed 12-21-99; 8:45 am]