Pacific lamprey is a culturally significant species to the Tribe and is also found in Agency Creek. For reasons unknown, they are in declining in abundance.
The Tribe is working collaboratively with Oregon State University and Cramer Fish Sciences to conduct behavior research on the species. It is a four-year study that began in 2008.
Adult lamprey are caught below Willamette Falls, implanted with radio tags and then released above the Falls into the main stem of the Willamette River. The Tribe has tagged about 120 lamprey each year from April through August and more were tagged by Cramer Fish Sciences.
The Tribe uses radio-telemetry to track tagged fish behavior and movements within the Willamette River. Receivers that track and record the radio-tagged lamprey movements are placed throughout the mainstem of the Willamette River and major tributaries. The Tribe now manages 22 receiver sites on the main stem and tributaries from the McKenzie River in Eugene up through the Tualatin River in West Linn. The data records year-round and the sites are maintained monthly. Collaborative efforts have been made to analyze this data and develop more information on the species.
The Fish and Wildlife Department is conducting genetic studies on both Coho salmon and Pacific lamprey. The salmon study is to determine the genetic origin of Coho on the Reservation. Genetic samples are collected during the fall salmon run at the fish weir by snipping a small section of the tail and sending it for laboratory testing. Lamprey genetics are taken while radio tagging adults at Willamette Falls and aim to determine if they, like salmon, return to the same stream they were born in to spawn.