Partnership Works with Gun Lake Tribe to Restore
Lake Sturgeon Spawning Habitat
BY DARIN SIMPKINS, GREEN BAY FWCO
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Great Lakes Coastal Program, is in partnership with Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (also known as The Gun Lake Tribe), Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Grand Valley State University to restore lake sturgeon (Nmé) spawning habitat in the Kalamazoo River, Michigan.
The only known spawning habitat currently being utilized is 26 miles upstream from Lake Michigan, and is located directly below Calkins hydroelectric facility. This project is part of a larger effort to restore more than 78,000 square feet of lake sturgeon spawning habitat. It will potentially move spawning locations further downstream from dam operations. River surveys have been conducted and areas for restoration have been selected.
Engineering has been completed for the riffle, glide and bank habitats. Material from aggregate suppliers is being secured and construction of the riffle and glide habitats will start in July 2015, after spawning activities of lake sturgeon has subsided for the year. Beginning in the spring of 2016, the restored habitat will be assessed for utilization and reproductive success employing egg deposition and larval drift surveys.
Educational outreach for sturgeon conservation and protection has been conducted during sturgeon release ceremonies and sturgeon guard river patrols. Sturgeon guarding efforts during spawning season have been occurring annually. For more information on the Kalamazoo River Lake Sturgeon Restoration project, contact the Environmental Director for the Gun Lake Tribe, Elizabeth Binoniemi-Smith at (269)792-1968 or (269)792-1969.