Protect The Mudpuppy Salamander- Stop The Use of Lampricide on the Lamoille!

Protect The Mudpuppy Salamander- Stop The Use of Lampricide on the Lamoille!

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Ira Powsner started this petition to VT Agency of Natural Resources

Dear friends and others concerned about environmental issues in VT,

The VT Agency of Natural Resources has recently issued a permit to U.S. Fish and Wildlife for the use of lampricide (a pesticide known as TFM) this fall and in 2024 in the Lamoille River.

Lampricide kills the larval young of Sea Lamprey that spawn up the rivers. It also has possible effects on eight or so non-target threatened and endangered species in the Lamoille, as well as causing mortality to a rare species, the Mudpuppy Salamander. Mudpuppies are so cool! They are our largest salamander, growing up to 14 inches in length, and they are fully aquatic, with external gills. Mudpuppies are regarded as an S2, rare species of special concern and Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN), and are thought to be native to VT only in portions of Lake Champlain and these lower river systems in the Lake Champlain basin. Little is known about their populations otherwise, and because of mortality associated with past lampricide treatments (528 Mudpuppies found dead in just 5% of the treated area in 2009), the VT Endangered Species Committee has requested 3 times that the VT Agency of Natural Resources list this species as Threatened.

Contrary to some reports, all of the genetic data show the Sea Lamprey to be a native species here in Lake Champlain. On one hand, the lampricide program that has been permitted for a few decades has lowered the number of lamprey wounds on the game species of salmon and trout in the lake.  On the other hand, it possibly impacts the long-term survivability of non-target, non-game species like our largest salamander, and could lead to the local extirpation of the species.  Evidence using three different methods, strongly suggests that this pesticide has extirpated Mudpuppies from Lewis Creek already. 

Please ask Secretary Moore at the VT Agency of Natural Resources to stop permitting the use of lampricide on the Lamoille river, and to follow the advice of The Endangered Species Committee and list the Mudpuppy as a Threatened species. Also, ask Secretary Moore to not permit any future lampricide treatments until U.S. Fish and Wildlife does more comprehensive population studies on Mudpuppies in the Lamoille River and provides all the funding for those studies.  The Lamoille River is only one of many rivers treated with this pesticide in Vermont, but it is also the river with the best habitat for Mudpuppies. Surely, we can leave one river untreated. Your voice matters when it comes to the use of pesticides in our waters! 

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