Proceedings of the 2006 Great Lakes Lake Sturgeon Coordination Meeting

Lake Huron & Lake Erie Basins

The discussion was started with introductions by participants including a brief description of lake sturgeon work during the previous year and suggestions of topics to cover during this group discussion.

James Boase (USFWS), Lloyd Mohr (OMNR), Marty Holtgren (LRBOI), Ed Baker (MDNR), and Terry Morse (USFWS)

Major Topics Covered:
Because the group was small and no representatives were from the Lake Erie Basin, most of the discussion time focused on topics of common interest for the Lake Huron Basin including:

- Developing a Lake Sturgeon Recovery Plan for Lake Huron
- Updating the population status tables and the basin map
- Survey and habitat rehabilitation work
- PIT tag data submission and reader distribution

Discussion Summary:

Lake Sturgeon Recovery Plan for Lake Huron
Ed Baker (MDNR) and Marty Holtgren (LRBOI) both agreed to participate in the development of a Lake Sturgeon Recovery Plan for Lake Huron. With John Weisser retiring Terry Morse agreed to appoint a replacement from the Sea Lamprey Control Program, likely Sheryl Kaye for the Service and Paul Sullivan from DFO. Suggestions were made to wait on the Lake Michigan Lake Sturgeon Task Group and see how their Lake Sturgeon Recovery Plan was developing, but because it has not been moving forward recently our group should continue to push ahead and develop one for the Lake Huron Basin. An outline would be presented to the Lake Huron Technical Committee possibly by the 2007 summer meeting or certainly by the 2007 winter meeting. Also discussed was the need to complete habitat inventories of all of the river systems that currently or historically supported spawning lake sturgeon and to create a system that allows managers and researchers to rank the systems.

Updates to population status and to basin map/tables
Recent work conducted in the Mississagi River, Spanish River, Nottawasaga River, and Saginaw River, indicate that updates need to be made for the population status and to the basin maps/tables. Efforts to update the maps/tables would be beneficial in developing a Lake Sturgeon Recovery Plan. Some syntax questions arose as to defining what a remnant stock is and if occasional sighting by fishers constitutes a remnant stock. Questions were also discussed about how to define when a population is considered extirpated and what are the lowest acceptable levels of a viable population.

Survey and habitat rehabilitation work by participants
Survey work is ongoing on the Black River, Saginaw River, Maumee River in the U.S. and the Mississagi River, Spanish River, and Nottawasaga River in Canada. Post assessment work is in its third season for the rehabilitation work that took place at Belle Isle and the construction of lake sturgeon Reefs. Similar reefs are being proposed for other locations in the Huron Erie Corridor, likely near Fighting Island in the Detroit River.

PIT tag data submission and reader distribution
Participants were reminded to submit their PIT tag data for inclusion in the Great Lakes Lake Sturgeon Tag ID database. Another supply of PIT tag readers were recently purchased through a grant from the Great lakes Fishery Trust with most being distributed to agencies that had indicated a need. As future cooperation with commercial fishers and tribal groups develop more readers will be needed.

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