Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Genoa helps Celebrate Fish Barrier Removal on the Red River of the North
Midwest Region, September 1, 2012
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Lake sturgeon release at Fish Passage Dedication
Lake sturgeon release at Fish Passage Dedication - Photo Credit: FWS photo

The Genoa National Fish Hatchery helped our state and municipal conservation partners dedicate two new fish passage facilities on the Red River of the North this summer. The city of Fargo, North Dakota owns a number of low head dams on the Red River that were built in the early 1900's. They were originally intended to be used to augment the Fargo's water supply system. These dams were never used for this intended purpose, and were actually creating a hazard to recreational use of the river by developing dangerous hydraulic flows in seasons of high river flows. They also were stopping migrations of many of the river's migratory species, such as lake sturgeon and walleye. A large lake sturgeon restoration effort has commenced on the Red River since the early 2000's involving state, tribal and federal partners. The removal of these dams will open up over 25 river miles of free flowing habitat to these migratory species of fish.

The Minnesota DNR, the North Dakota Fish and Game and the city of Fargo hosted a fish passage dedication to commemorate the event. The Genoa hatchery brought over 500 lake sturgeon fingerlings reared for the Red River to release to celebrate the opening. The Genoa hatchery raises lake sturgeon annually and supplies fall fingerlings to state and tribal partners in order to create a lake sturgeon population in the river. Lake sturgeon were originally found in the basin, but have disappeared since the early 1900's. Lake sturgeon juveniles are now commonly being caught and released by recreational fishermen in the area indicating good post stocking survival. On hand to help stock the fish were members of the Red River Basin Riverwatch, a conservation group that monitors water quality in the Red River basin using local school groups. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Fisheries Program also provided funding for the dam removal and fish passage construction through its Fish Passage Program. The Fish Passage program is devoted to opening up and expanding fish habitat by removing or altering in-stream structures that inhibit fish movement

Contact Info: Doug Aloisi, 608-689-2605, Doug_Aloisi@fws.gov
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