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Protecting Seneca Lake: Scheduled Lampricide Treatment Begin in June


Scheduled lampricide treatment for parasitic sea lamprey will begin in early June in Seneca Lake tributaries in Chemung, Schuyler, and Yates counties.

Immature sea lamprey live in streams for three to four years before they become parasitic predators of fish such as Atlantic salmon, lake trout, and other fish species. Controlling the sea lamprey population helps support healthier fish species in Seneca Lake and its tributaries.

Since 1982, part of the state DEC’s sea lamprey control program effectively used in Seneca Lake tributaries includes the use of a lampricide every three to four years. Lampricide, called TFM (3-trifluoromethyl-4-nitrophenol), prevents immature sea lamprey from reaching adulthood when they become problematic. TFM is a selective pesticide used extensively for sea lamprey control in the Great Lakes. The dosage of TFM to immature sea lampreys will not have significant impacts to the environment or non‑target organisms exposed to the lampricide. Some minor fish and aquatic invertebrate mortality may occur and be visible.

As a precaution, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) recommends that river water should not be used for drinking and other household purposes, fishing, swimming, irrigation, or watering livestock. Lake water should not be used for watering livestock or for household drinking but may be used for other household purposes. Treatment areas will be posted and signs removed when advisories are lifted. Advisories are expected to last one to two days for river water users and one to three days for lake water users.

Lampricide application is weather dependent. Application is scheduled to start June 4 in Catharine Creek downstream of Stafford Road, Chemung, and Schuyler counties, and June 6 in Keuka Lake Outlet, downstream of Cascade Mills, Yates County.

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