Sea Lamprey treatment for Seneca Lake to begin


Treatments will enhance lake trout and salmon populations and sizes

Sea lampreys are parasitic fish which attach themselves to larger gamefish to feed on their blood.

SENECA LAKE -- The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will be combatting the parasitic sea lamprey the week of Oct. 11, on Catharine Creek Canal in Schuyler County. By effectively controlling sea lampreys, DEC can reduce mortality rates for fish they prey upon, especially lake trout, rainbow trout, and landlocked salmon — some of the more popular fish in Seneca Lake.

The DEC will treat waters inhabited by juvenile sea lampreys in Catharine Creek Canal from Montour Falls Marina to the mouth at Seneca Lake. Lampricide application preparations were scheduled to start the week of Oct. 11, with application on Oct. 13. Application is weather-dependent.

Typically, immature sea lamprey live in streams for three to four years before they become parasitic and descend into the lake to prey on other fish. Through the sea lamprey control program, DEC will apply a lampricide called Bayluscide (niclosamide) to canal waters using a boat-mounted sprayer. Bayluscide is a selective pesticide that kills the immature, larval stage of the sea lamprey. It has been used extensively for sea lamprey control in the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain and was last used in Catharine Creek Canal in 2014. The dosage of Bayluscide lethal to larval sea lampreys can be processed without harm by most other aquatic organisms. Some minor fish and aquatic invertebrate mortality is expected.

These treatments do not pose any significant hazard to human health. However, as a precautionary measure, the State Department of Health advises against consumption of lake water, fishing, swimming, livestock watering, or irrigation in the treatment zone during and immediately following applications. Signs will be posted along the treated areas. In addition, for four days, treated water should not be used for drinking or cooking. For two days, treated water should not be used for bathing/showering, washing dishes or clothes, swimming, or fishing. Fish within the Bayluscide-treated area may contain low-level concentrations of this compound for 14 days following treatment.

To advise the community about the application of this lampricide, DEC conducted extensive outreach to contact landowners and renters who may be affected by the treatments. Drinking water and water for other household uses will be supplied to affected people in the advisory areas upon request. Contact the DEC at 585-226-2466 during normal business hours to request water.