Endangered Species
Midwest Region



Midwest Region State Map

The Midwest Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. Find a location near you


Endangered Species Program

Conserving and restoring threatened and endangered species and their ecosystems


Great Lake Restoration Initiative logo

Pallid Sturgeon

(Scaphirhynchus albus)


Pallid sturgeon are bottom dwelling, slow growing fish that feed primarily on small fish and immature aquatic insects. This species of sturgeon is seldom seen and is one of the least understood fish in the Missouri and Mississippi River drainages. It is an ancient species that has existed since the days of the dinosaurs.

Pallid sturgeon

Photo by South Dakota Game Fish and Parks; Sam Stukel


Status: Endangered, listed September 6, 1990 (PDF Adobe PDF icon)


Habitat: Mississippi River downstream of its confluence with the Missouri River; Ohio River below Dam #53; Missouri River


Range: Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Tennessee

Lead Region: 6


Region 3 Lead Office: Columbia ES, Missouri Field Office

Listen to a podcast!

Find out about the pallid sturgeon.

Audio Clip



The pallid sturgeon experienced a dramatic decline throughout its range since the mid to late 1960's. Nearly all of its habitat has been modified through river channelization,
construction of impoundments, and related changes in water flow. These changes blocked the pallid sturgeon's movements, destroyed or altered its spawning areas, reduced its food sources or its ability to obtain food, and altered water temperatures and other environmental conditions necessary for the fish's survival.


The pallid sturgeon was listed as endangered in 1990 and recovery efforts include research to learn more about its life history and habitat requirements, artificial propagation to improve its numbers, habitat improvement and reducing mortality from commercial fishing.


Natural History and Regulatory Information

September 1, 2010: Threatened Status for Shovelnose Sturgeon Under the Similarity of Appearance Provisions of the Endangered Species Act - - Pallid sturgeon listed to protected pallid sturgeon by treating shovelnose sturgeon as a threatened species where their ranges overlap.


Species Profile (links to National U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service web pages)


Midwest Region - Pallid Sturgeon Fact Sheet


Final Rule to list the Pallid Sturgeon as Endangered (PDF )


Recovery Actions

January 2014 - Revised Recovery Plan for the Pallid Sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) 126-page PDF; 3MB


Dec. 13, 2012 - All Hail King Pallid! Recovery Update


Middle Basin Pallid Sturgeon Recovery Work Group


2009 Recovery Land Acquisition Grant: Acquisition of Marquette Island, an important resource for pallid sturgeon and interior least tern recovery on the Middle Mississippi River (Cape Girardeau County, Missouri)


Non-traditional S7 Grant: Windy Bar Island Acquisition (Cape Girardeau County, MO): $483,504 - May 2007

Recovery Information (Middle Mississippi River)


1993 Pallid Sturgeon Recovery Plan (64-page PDF)

Missouri River News and Information


Listed Fish

Midwest Endangered Species Home


Last updated: October 10, 2018