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Cattaraugus Creek will be surveyed for lampreys

Cattaraugus Creek, which runs through three counties and feeds into the Great Lakes, will be surveyed by a crew from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in two weeks in an effort to preserve the $7 billion worth of Great Lakes sport and commercial fisheries from destructive sea lampreys.

Hundreds of such surveys are conducted annually around streams feeding into all the Great Lakes and are the first step in lamprey control, according to the service.

A survey crew will work along the creek in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Erie counties from Aug. 11 through Aug. 20, to provide information for crews that will use a lampricide approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Health Canada Pest Management Regulatory Agency.

Sea lampreys invaded the Great Lakes in the 1920s and have become a permanent and destructive element of the lakes, attaching to fish with their suction cup mouths, digging into the fish’s skin and scales and feeding on the blood and body fluids of fish, according to Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Scott Grunder. Each average-size lamprey can destroy up to 40 pounds of fish in its parasitic stage of life, he added.

Additional information on the impending survey work can be obtained at the service’s website, www.fws.gov, or Facebook page at facebook.com/usfwsmidwest.