Detroit, Michigan, June 18, 2019 - The Great Lakes Fishery Commission presented
Mr. Steve LaPan with the 2019 Vernon C. Applegate Award for Outstanding Contributions
to Sea Lamprey Control. The award, which the Commission presents to an individual
or group annually, recognized Mr. Lapan for resolute support and stanch advocacy
of the Sea Lamprey Control Program throughout his career with the New York State
Department of Environmental Conservation.
Commissioner Dr. Don Pereira, the former Chief of Fisheries for the State of Minnesota
(retired), presented Mr. LaPan with the Applegate Award at the Commission's 64th
annual meeting, held recently in Detroit, MI. Commissioner Pereira noted the award
is named after the father of sea lamprey control, Dr. Vernon Applegate, who was
perhaps best known for his exemplary dedication to the control program.
As Section Head of New York's Great Lakes Fisheries Program, Mr. LaPan knows all
too well the necessity of controlling the invasive sea lamprey to manageable levels
to protect the $7 billion Great Lakes fishery.
"Throughout his thirty-year long career, Mr. LaPan has been a long-standing member
of the Council of Lake Committees and co-chair of the Lake Ontario Committee," Commissioner
Pereira stated. "In these roles, Mr. LaPan has demonstrated his understanding and
support of the dynamic relationship that exists between healthy fisheries and sea
lamprey control: successful fishery management is reliant upon effective suppression
of sea lamprey populations in the Great Lakes, which is impossible without the cooperation
and support of federal, state, provincial and tribal fisheries managers. He continuously
reminds people that Lake Ontario's world-class fishery would not exist without effective
sea lamprey control."
Pereira continued: "Mr. LaPan's support for this program is evident in his persistence
and dedication to overseeing critical projects related to the program. A shining
example is his facilitation of the construction of the Orwell Brook sea lamprey
barrier near Altmar, New York. Steve was involved in every facet of this project,
from facilitating successful negotiations to securing the land lease agreement;
to presenting the project concept to prospective bidders, to working tirelessly
with state and federal environmental agencies to ensure that all necessary permits
were obtained. Thanks to Mr. LaPan's efforts, the Orwell Brook barrier is an important
weapon to the Lake Ontario sea lamprey control effort. It prevents the infestation
of the upstream reaches and eliminates the need for lampricide treatments in all
but the lowermost section of Orwell Brook.
"Mr. LaPan's consistent, even-keeled, straightforward interactions with stakeholders
and private citizens, whose perspectives and objectives often diverge, have led
to better awareness of the program and better appreciation for what we do," concluded
Commissioner Pereira. "His remarkable ability to foster collaboration among managers
from various state, provincial and federal agencies has been key in ensuring the
continued success of the sea lamprey control program in Lake Ontario."
The Great Lakes Fishery Commission is an international organization established
by the United States and Canada through the 1954 Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries.
The Commission has the responsibility to support fisheries research, control the
invasive sea lamprey in the Great Lakes, and facilitate implementation of A Joint
Strategic Plan for Management of Great Lakes Fisheries, a provincial, state, and
tribal fisheries management agreement.
Great Lakes Fishery Commission Commissioner Don Pereira (left) presents Steve LaPan
with the 2019 Vernon C. Applegate Award Jack Christie/Ken H. Loftus Award for Outstanding
Contributions to Sea Lamprey Control. The award was presented to Mr. LaPan on May
29, 2019, during the Great Lakes Fishery Commission's annual meeting, held in Detroit,
Michigan. Photo: T. Lawrence, GLFC.