Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Biologists Summarize Year’s Activities in Annual Report
Midwest Region, March 30, 2007
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Columbia FRO's Colby Wrasse with a pallid sturgeon from the Missouri River. 
- FWS photo
Columbia FRO's Colby Wrasse with a pallid sturgeon from the Missouri River.

- FWS photo

- Photo Credit: n/a

Columbia FRO fishery biologists, Nick Utrup and Andrew Plauck, each completed an annual report for the Pallid Sturgeon Population Assessment and Associated Fish Community Monitoring Project. 


Columbia FRO monitors the lower 250 miles of the Missouri River, which are divided into two segments.  Extensively detailed annual reports are required annually for each segment.  Utrup and Plauck, along with technician Patricia Herman, spent the last three weeks of March compiling and analyzing data, building graphs, writing and editing test for each of the 165 page reports. 


The information included in these reports gives biologists a chance to interpret the results from the hundreds of datasheets they have completed in the previous year. 


Despite all of last year’s efforts and the 34,000 fish captured in the two segments, only 16 pallid sturgeon were captured.  Eleven of the pallid sturgeon were of traceable hatchery origin. The other five pallid sturgeon were not marked. 


Genetic testing of unmarked fish will determine if they are wild or of hatchery origin.  This very low number of fish shows the rarity of the federally endangered species.  Other fish in the Missouri River are not so rare, 4,300 shovelnose sturgeon were captured within the same time period.  Species other than sturgeon are also monitored in an effort to detect changes in the entire fish community in the Missouri River from year to year. 


Recovery of federally endangered pallid sturgeon is a priority of the Columbia FRO.  Collaboration of multiple state and federal agencies in the Missouri River Basin promises to enhance the recovery effort for the pallid sturgeon. 


Standardized sampling effort and reporting will allow biologists to detect changes between years and different reaches of the Missouri River.  The pallid sturgeon population assessment project meets the native species goal of the Fisheries Progam’s Vision of the Future.

Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov
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