The Empiric Stream Treatment Ranking (ESTR) system is a data-driven, model-based, decision tool for selecting Great Lakes streams for treatment with lampricide, based on estimates from larval sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) surveys conducted throughout the basin. The 2000 ESTR system was described and applied to larval assessment surveys conducted from 1996 to 1999. A comparative analysis of stream survey and selection data was conducted and improvements to the stream selection process were recommended. Streams were selected for treatment based on treatment cost, predicted treatment effectiveness, and the projected number of juvenile sea lampreys produced. On average, lampricide treatments were applied annually to 49 streams with 1,075 ha of larval habitat, killing 15 million larval and 514,000 juvenile sea lampreys at a total cost of $5.3 million, and marginal and mean costs of $85 and $10 per juvenile killed. The numbers of juvenile sea lampreys killed for given treatment costs showed a pattern of diminishing returns with increasing investment. Of the streams selected for treatment, those with > 14 ha of larval habitat targeted 73% of the juvenile sea lampreys for 60% of the treatment cost. Suggested improvements to the ESTR system were to improve accuracy and precision of model estimates, account for uncertainty in estimates, include all potentially productive streams in the process (not just those surveyed in the current year), consider the value of all larvae killed during treatment (not just those predicted to metamorphose the following year), use lake-specific estimates of damage, and establish formal suppression targets.
Additional publication details
Selecting Great Lakes streams for lampricide treatment based on larval sea lamprey surveys