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More money for sea lampreys in the omnibus bill

Sea lamprey
Photo courtesy of USFWS
The mouth of a lamprey. It uses suction, teeth, and a razor sharp tongue to attach itself to its prey... and then it starts drinking blood.

People who battle sea lampreys are happy with the big spending bill President Trump signed on Friday.

Lampreys are an invasive fish that drink the blood and body fluids of fish like lake trout and salmon.

Marc Gaden is the communications director for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. 

“For lamprey control there’s $7 million [in] additional funds and that will be used primarily for lamprey infrastructure,” he says.

Gaden says that infrastructure includes things like barriers and traps.

“We have infrastructure in water that works in controlling lamprey, in fact, it’s some of the most cost effective ways of controlling lamprey, and as this infrastructure deteriorates we see the possibility of lamprey expanding,” he says.

He says a single lamprey can kill up to 40 pounds of fish in its lifetime. Gaden says the bill also includes $1.8 million for a lamprey barrier that will be part of the Restore the Rapids project on the Grand River in Grand Rapids.

Rebecca Williams is senior editor in the newsroom, where she edits stories and helps guide news coverage.
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