BY COLBY WRASSE, COLUMBIA FWCO
On the Missouri River we often recapture Shovelnose Sturgeon that were originally tagged on the Mississippi River along the Illinois/Missouri state boundary. This is not surprising considering that there are no barriers between the two rivers and sturgeon are known to swim long distances; however, we recently captured a Shovelnose Sturgeon with an unfamiliar Floy Tag that had us scratching our heads.
After a quick internet search, we concluded that this fish was most likely tagged by Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP). Fisheries Biologist Nathan Aycock of MDWFP confirmed that this was in fact a fish they had tagged. We recaptured this fish more than 600 miles upstream from where it was tagged two years ago. It traveled through portions of six states, again illustrating the importance of scientific collaboration when dealing with interjurisdictional fishes such as sturgeon.
BY MARK STEINGRAEBER, LA CROSSE FWCO
Fourteen students from Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin who are currently enrolled in Biology 321 – Conservation Biology - paid a visit to the Fish and Wildlife Resource Center in Onalaska on November 7th. They came at the request of their instructor, Dr. Michael Alfieri, to learn about the broad range of conservation issues and efforts routinely undertaken by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) fishery program employees who work here to protect aquatic bio-diversity throughout the Midwest.
The USFWS Fish Health Center laboratories were the first stop on a walking tour where students learned the significance of aquatic animal health and procedures used to diagnose aquatic diseases. Next was a virtual tour of the Whitney Genetics Laboratory where students were briefed on its mission to detect genetic evidence of Asian carp and other aquatic nuisance species from environmental (water) samples. Finally, the class learned about the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (FWCO) and its partnership efforts to conserve, protect, and enhance diverse fishery resources and aquatic habitats of the Midwest.
In addition to Viterbo University’s challenging academic environment, students who attend this Catholic Franciscan school are encouraged to participate in volunteer activities to instill a lifelong desire to provide service to others. Based on the genuine interest these students showed for the mission and diverse work performed by our fishery program offices, a new cohort of young and eager volunteers may be on their way to help us in the New Year!