Pacific Lamprey Conservation Initiative


A Collaborative Effort to Restore our Ancient Friend

Photo Credit Freshwaters Illustrated

What is the Pacific Lamprey Conservation Initiative?

The Pacific Lamprey Conservation Initiative (PLCI) is a collaboration of Native American tribes, federal, state, municipal and local agencies, and non-governmental organizations working to achieve long-term persistence of Pacific Lamprey, their habitats, and support their traditional tribal use throughout their historical range spanning the West Coast of North America.

The intent of the partnership is to achieve this goal, where ecologically and economically feasible, by maintaining viable populations and habitats in areas where Pacific Lamprey exist currently, restoring where they are at risk of extirpation or are extirpated, and doing so in a manner that addresses the importance of lamprey to tribal peoples. PLCI envisions a future where threats to Pacific Lamprey and their habitats are reduced, and the historic geographic range and ecological role of Pacific Lamprey are restored to the greatest extent possible. 

Our Ancient Friend

Pacific Lamprey are vitally important to Indigenous people throughout their range and play key cultural and ecological roles in these communities and ecosystems. Long considered an important source of food for tribal communities – Pacific Lamprey are prized for their rich fatty meat and appreciated as a medicinal and nourishing food.

Despite their cultural importance to tribal communities throughout its range, unfortunately, Pacific Lamprey were often considered “junk fish” by non-tribal fisherman, and subjected to deliberate poisonings and removal. Tribes have been leaders in sounding the alarm as reductions in the abundance and range of Pacific Lamprey accelerated, and have helped initiate collaborative efforts to restore Pacific Lamprey populations and educate the public of their importance. Now in addition to being a species of immense cultural significance for Native American tribes, Pacific Lamprey are a tribal trust species for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and a species of concern for many states.

Click here to see the most up-to-date Pacific Lamprey distribution data.

Freshwaters Illustrated

Produced in partnership with the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, and in cooperation with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Three Components of PLCI

In 2007, an effort was initiated to conserve and restore Pacific Lamprey outside of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing process. The result was the formation of PLCI in 2008 - a diverse collaboration of partners working together to achieve long term persistence of Pacific Lamprey and their habitats, and to support their traditional tribal uses across their historical range. The three primary components upon which PLCI is built upon include the Pacific Lamprey Assessment, Pacific Lamprey Conservation Agreement, and Regional Implementation Plans (RIPs).

Pacific Lamprey Assessment

Every five years partners evaluate Pacific Lamprey habitat condition, population demographics, distribution, and threats to characterize conservation risk across their historical range.

Conservation Agreement

First signed in 2012, as a voluntary commitment by partners to work collaboratively to reduce or eliminate threats to Pacific Lamprey.

Regional Implementation Plans

Developed by each of the 18 Regional Management Units (RMUs) spanning the Pacific Lamprey's U.S. range to identify, prioritize, and implement key conservation actions.

Native Lamprey 2024 Workshops


The goals of these day-and-a-half workshops are to raise awareness of native lamprey species and assist participants in incorporating lamprey conservation into restoration projects, including permitting, passage design, in-water work activities, and other considerations. 

The workshops use both classroom and field instruction to provide participants with knowledge of the ecology, habitat needs, cultural significance, and conservation of lamprey species in the Pacific Northwest, and enable them to survey, salvage, and identify lamprey species.

Participants will receive handouts and resources to assist with lamprey identification and available conservation resources. The workshop is comprised of a day of classroom instruction, followed by a half-day of field instruction. 

PLCI is one of 20 nationally recognized fish habitat partnerships in the United States. Through its work, PLCI seeks to advance its own goals, and those of the National Fish Habitat Partnership to protect, restore, and enhance the nation’s fish and aquatic communities through partnerships that foster fish habitat conservation and improve quality of life for all Americans.

©2022 Pacific Lamprey Conservation Initiative