Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Missouri River dams, bank stabilization and channel containment measures, and pollution have severely altered pallid sturgeon habitat. Years of effort will be required for restoration. In the meantime, accidental take of the species through sport and commercial fishing must be reduced to avoid extinction.
Pallid sturgeon are extremely rare. Only remnant populations of aging adults remain in the Missouri River. In the Mississippi River, hybridization with the shovelnose sturgeon appears common. The pallid sturgeon's potential to adapt to captivity was unknown until broodstock collected from both river systems adapted to conditions in a South Dakota Federal hatchery and a Missouri State hatchery. During the spring of 1992, two females were successfully spawned in the Missouri hatchery. Results indicate hatcheries can supplement wild stocks as habitats are restored. Research on rearing requirements for the progeny answered many important questions related to diet, appropriate density levels in captivity, growth rates, and development characteristics.
Research to determine habitat preferences and adult pallid sturgeon movements is being coordinated between the Fish and Wildlife Service's Montana and South Dakota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units, and the State's fishery departments. South Dakota, North Dakota, and Louisiana have closed sport and commercial fishing seasons to protect against incidental take. Aquariums in North Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri, and Louisiana are receiving progeny from the successful spawn in Missouri to increase public awareness.
Section 7 consultations were conducted on sand and gravel dredging with the Army Corps of Engineers and on bridge constructions with the Federal Highway Administration. No-jeopardy biological opinions were made as a result of successful negotiations during informal consultations.
Recovery needs include obtaining broodstock, evaluating life requirements, researching threats, and rehabilitating habitat.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department received $20,000 in FY 1991 and $18,000 in FY 1992 to research habitat needs, assist with planning, and implement public outreach.
North Dakota Game and Fish Department: The Department is undertaking outreach activities and has closed its sturgeon fishing seasons.
State of Missouri: A hatchery operated by the State of Missouri has successfully spawned pallid sturgeon for use in reintroduction efforts.
Agency draft plan.