Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Pallid Sturgeon Recovery in the Middle Mississippi River
Midwest Region, September 22, 2009
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Staff from the Marion, Illinois, Ecological Services Sub-Office (MISO) continues to actively participate in the Middle Basin Pallid Sturgeon Recovery Workgroup.  The workgroup is charged with implementing the objectives and tasks of the Pallid Sturgeon Recovery Plan. 

One of the recovery plan tasks being implemented by the workgroup is augmenting the pallid sturgeon population through stocking.  MISO staff is coordinating with a sub-committee of the workgroup to determine appropriate stocking strategies basin-wide and will be closely involved in determining the appropriate stocking strategy for the progeny of broodstock collected in the Middle Mississippi River and that will be stocked in the Lower Missouri River.

MISO staff is coordinating with the St. Louis District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to develop and implement a pallid sturgeon conservation and restoration plan.  The plan is being developed as part of the Reasonable and Prudent Alternative for the 2000 Biological Opinion for Continued Operation and Maintenance of the 9-Foot Navigation Channel on the Upper Mississippi River System. 

The plan meets the Pallid Sturgeon Recovery Plan tasks of obtaining information on life history and habitat requirements of all life stages of pallid sturgeon, researching additional solutions to the impacts of human activities on pallid sturgeon and their habitat, obtaining information on genetic makeup of hatchery-reared and wild sturgeon stocks, obtaining information on pallid sturgeon population status and trends, and obtaining information on pallid sturgeon biological threats. 

As part of developing and implementing the conservation and restoration plan, MISO staff continue to coordinate with staff from the Corp, including development of an outline for the plan and working with the Corps and researchers from Southern Illinois University and the Missouri Department of Conservation to develop pallid sturgeon studies that will occur over the next three to four years on the Middle Mississippi River. 

MISO staff is also consulting with the Corps on projects to implement aquatic habitat restoration measures that may reasonably be expected to benefit pallid sturgeon.

MISO staff consults with the St. Louis District Corps on all other Corps actions on the Middle Mississippi River related to the construction, operation and maintenance of the 9-foot navigation channel.   This activity includes reviewing several construction projects designed to reduce dredging in the navigation channel.  In recent years, the Corps has incorporated measures into these projects to create/restore aquatic habitat diversity.   This includes the use of innovative river training structures, such as chevron dikes, instead of traditional river training structures (e.g., straight dikes).


MISO staff is also coordinating with the St. Louis District Corps on Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP) projects on the Middle Mississippi River that meet tasks outlined in the Pallid Sturgeon Recovery Plan.  The NESP projects meet the tasks of restoring habitats and functions of Mississippi River ecosystems while minimizing impacts on other uses of the river.  Specifically, the projects will restore the diversity of riverine habitats by reconnecting cut-off features along the Middle Mississippi River, restore large woody debris to the main stem of the Middle Mississippi River, and restore free movements of pallid sturgeon throughout the Middle Mississippi River. 

Contact Info: Joyce Collins, 618/997-3344 ext. 340, joyce_collins@fws.gov
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