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Water Corporation is teaming up with researchers from Murdoch University and local high school students to better understand one of WA’s oddest-looking creatures – the endangered lamprey. 


An ancient eel-like fish, lamprey are well-known among Pemberton locals for its seasonal breeding migration from the ocean to spawning grounds at Lefroy Brook Weir.


Last week, staff from Water Corporation’s Warren-Blackwood District and students from Pemberton District High School joined Murdoch University researchers to help monitor this annual migration, which occurs from August to October.


Recent studies have shown a decline in lamprey numbers, something researchers believe is linked to overfishing and the effects of climate change.


Students visited the weir where a “lamprey ladder” has been installed to help make the final leg of the creature’s journey a little easier.  


Water Corporation’s Graeme Keep has been maintaining the ladder and a nearby pump to ensure lamprey are not hampered by low water levels.


“The ladder works really well and gives the lamprey a better chance of making it to the open water, rather than having to climb over the weir wall,” Mr Keep said. 


“It’s great the students could visit and learn more about the structure and lamprey in general.


“It’ll be interesting to see if any students come up with an improved ladder design to help even more lamprey make it to the open water.”


Water Corporation Regional Manager John Janssen said he was encouraged to see local students involved in monitoring this amazing natural phenomenon.


“The annual lamprey migration is something unique to the area so it’s great to see local students engaged in the creature’s preservation,” Mr Jansen said.


“It’s equally pleasing that Water Corporation’s Liveability program is helping raise awareness about the lamprey and hopefully having a positive impact to their future survival.”   


Lefroy Brook Dam is the drinking water catchment for Pemberton.


Media contact:

Kylie Olney


Ph: 0428 938 847