Pacific Lamprey is an ecologically and culturally important species whose population numbers have declined sharply since the large hydro dam construction era in the mid-twentieth century within the Pacific Northwest. Harvest has traditionally occurred throughout the Columbia River Basin (and beyond), and they were highly valued by the local and regional indigenous people, similar to salmon species. In recent years, new restoration, investigations, and partnerships have been taking shape by tribal, federal, state, and local entities. Ralph Lampman will discuss Pacific Lamprey history (cultural as well as species status) and biology (what makes them unique) and share and highlight some examples of the new restorations and research that are being implemented by the Yakama Nation Fisheries Pacific Lamprey Project and its partners. He will also outline and discuss some of the key future management topics and considerations for the species. Growing up and living in both the West Coast USA and Japan, he will also discuss some of the unique cultural connections that people have had historically with lampreys in these two countries and regions.
Ralph Lampman was born in San Francisco, CA, and moved to Tokyo, Japan, along with his Japanese mother, when he was seven years old. After finishing high school in Japan (becoming fluent in Japanese while managing to forget English from… lack of use), he returned to the U.S. to attend college in southern Oregon and northern California. Ralph worked for several years on the Central Oregon Coast as a U.S. Forest Service fish biologist and then went back to school to work on a Pacific Lamprey thesis project (along the North Umpqua River / Winchester Dam). Following his thesis project, Ralph began his current position working for the Yakama Nation Fisheries Pacific Lamprey Project (Toppenish, WA) and is currently in his 11th year with the work. Both Japan and the US (West Coast) are “home” to Ralph – and he says he feels it’s his “mission in life is to bring the two countries close together (in terms of lamprey, fisheries, and culturally in a variety of ways).” Ralph adds that his other mission in life is “to give voices to the amazing creatures called “lamprey, which to me are irradiating uncontrollably with wisdom and teachings for humanity (if we can listen to them openly with our heart).”