Proceedings of the 2004 Great Lakes Lake Sturgeon Coordination Meeting


Basin Oriented Sessions: Lake Ontario Basin & St. Lawrence River

Introduction:
The discussion was started with introductions by participants including a brief description of their affiliation and suggestions of topics to cover during this group discussion.

Participants:
David Bryson, Doug Carlson, Randy Jackson, Boyd Kynard, Chet MacKenzie, Emily Zollweg

Major Topics Covered:
- Dams/Hydropower projects
- Lake Champlain / Richelieu Issues
- Contaminants

Discussion Summary:
Dams / Hydropower Projects

Dams at either end- Niagara Power Project, Massena Project -that have substantially compromised historic spawning capabilities;
St. Lawrence Tributary Dams - Oswegatchie River- Ogdensburg (mouth), Eel Weir (5 miles), Heuvelton (11 miles), then 47 miles of good river - Dam removal funds- NY Rivers United;
Possible FDR funds to research, plan, manage;
Grass River- dam blew out at Massena (mile 7) about 8 years ago which previously isolated the population. There is also a non-hydropower dam at Madrid (mile 28) that restricts sturgeon and is a candidate for removal by NY Rivers United.

Idea/Action Item - use USFWS Coastal$$ to study Oswegatchie for potential dam removal or fish passage benefits and framework (template could come from the Oswego River fisheries enhancement plan) for a plan for all riverine spp. The license renewal process will commence in 2007. Active participants - Cortland ES (hydro connection), NYS DEC, LGLFRO – LAS experience, Cornell-review, John Farrell, Steve LaPan or Frank Flack, OMNR- Alastair Mathers?

Action Item - Meeting to Prioritize tasks for joint participation in the second 10 years of planning for sturgeon enhancement by the New York Sturgeon Task Group- TriSociety 2005 Syracuse Feb 2-4

Propagation efforts by NYSDEC are at a turning point, and a new program might draw from brood stock collections in the Black River. This would likely provide tissue samples for genetic comparisons.

Lake Champlain/Richelieu Issues

One dam with eel passage and canal around, there were LAS (lake sturgeon) in lower Richelieu near Montreal (according to P. Dumont) that were probably part of the larger sturgeon population which was historically connected to St. Lawrence, genetic testing with Lake Champlain fish ongoing by UC - Davis and Amy Welsh.

Lamoille Dam- Thought they had an agreement to remove in 20 years, possibly null now, built in sturgeon hole, flooded good spawning habitat (small falls, boulder/cobble for ¾ mile)

Mississquoi River- old mill dam 6 mi up, another dam 11 mi up, good WAE spawning habitat above first dam, would work for LAS too, laying groundwork for removal, historic preservation and landowner concerns on impoundment will be issues

Contaminants

Lake Champlain relatively clean compared to other Great Lakes
Niagara and St. Lawrence- concerns and questions about sublethal effects
DEC has data on contaminants from several sturgeon which has been summarized, lawsuits ongoing regarding impacts and cleanup responsibilities

Fish sampling- tissue plugs, sew up hole, no worries
Blood samples- easy to get, any size LAS above yearling


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