Populations of Pacific lamprey have suddenly plummeted since the year 2000 in the Columbia Basin, surprising scientists. Lamprey numbers had increased for many years after the dams went in on the Columbia. OREGON FIELD GUIDE examines the latest efforts to stem the lamprey decline on Thursday, March 31 at 8:30pm on the stations of Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Lamprey Decline – Every June a group of Native Americans takes part in the ancient tradition of intercepting Pacific lamprey as they make their way upstream at the Willamette Falls. They gather the ell-like fish to eat and use in their medicines and ceremonies. Historically found in many rivers throughout the Columbia Basin, Willamette Falls is the now the only harvest site left. In the year 2000, 100,000 adult lampreys made their way through the Bonneville Dam. Seven years later, that number has dropped by 80-90 percent, and no one knows exactly why. The assumption is that dams have something to do with it. But, since the dams went in over three decades ago, the lamprey population has fluctuated, but generally increased. After learning the lamprey have trouble getting up conventional salmon ladders, Bonneville Dam installed new ladders built just for the lamprey to use. FIELD GUIDE checks in with the experts to see how efforts to keep the lamprey alive are working.

Egg Masses - The METRO regional government is restoring thousands of acres of natural space in the Portland metropolitan area. To track the success of these long-term efforts, they rely on volunteers to watch over the sensitive amphibians such as the northern red-legged frog, Pacific chorus frog and Northwestern salamander that breed in these areas during the winter. FIELD GUIDE tags along as volunteer wildlife monitors are taught how to distinguish egg masses, mark them and record important data.

Mazama Archives - Oregon’s Mazamas mountaineering organization has one of the best libraries on the subject in North America. We take a fascinating trip through this venerable archive and the mountain lore it contains with one of the people who know it best, photo specialist and Mazama historian Jeff Thomas.

Videos of the stories featured on FIELD GUIDE are available at opb.org/programs/ofg/ or watch entire programs at watch.opb.org.

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In its 22nd season, OREGON FIELD GUIDE remains a valuable source of information about outdoor recreation, ecological issues, natural resources and travel destinations. OREGON FIELD GUIDE airs Thursday evenings at 8:30pm on the television stations of Oregon Public Broadcasting and repeats on Sundays at 1:30am and 6:30pm. In the Mountain Time zone of Eastern Oregon, the program airs at 9:30pm Thursdays, and at 7:30pm Sundays.

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