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Winchester Dam gets new lamprey ramp

A new lamprey ramp and security system was installed this week at the Winchester Dam fish ladder. The ramp will make it easier for the eel-like lamprey to ascend the ladder.

In the late 1960s, nearly 30,000 lamprey crossed the dam annually. Now, with the coast-wide population decline, less than 200 lamprey are passing. “Lamprey can still use the ladder, but the ramp gives them a shortcut that makes passage faster,” said district fish biologist Laura Jackson. A counter will be installed to record lamprey using the ramp and the ladder.

A security system was installed at the ladder to curb poaching and trespassing. Oregon State Police will also increase patrols in the area. It is illegal to be on any part of the fish ladder, dam or behind the building.

Funding for the lamprey ramp came from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant. ODFW’s Engineering and Fish Screening and Passage Program designed the ramp based on ramps used successfully at other areas.