Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Alternative sea lamprey barrier technologies: history as a control tool.

Abstract

Currently, application of lampricides and installation of low-head barriers are the only proven means of sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) control in the Great Lakes. While sea lamprey cannot climb or jump over low-head barriers, many desirable migratory species also cannot traverse barriers and are unintentionally blocked. Recently, there has been a push to reduce reliance on chemical controls as well as increase stream connectivity and flood conveyance. In response, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) continues to seek alternative methods of control. Great Lakes basin resource managers often request consideration of alternatives to both lampricide use and low-head barriers. Seasonal operation and alternative barrier designs (e.g. velocity barriers and electrical barriers) that incorporate additional features such as selective fish passage or flood conveyance are among the most commonly requested options. To date, alternative barrier technologies have been intermittently successful in the sea lamprey control program directed by the GLFC, yet continue to be proposed as alternatives to conventional low-head barriers. This document provides a comprehensive review on the current state of knowledge regarding the effectiveness of current and alternative barrier technologies and their historical use in the sea lamprey control program. This synthesis provides resource managers and sea lamprey control agents a reference and some tools to facilitate decision making around barriers that balance the critical need for invasive species control and fishery restoration.