Proceedings of the 2004 Great Lakes Lake Sturgeon Coordination Meeting

Meeting Summary

One hundred individuals attended the 2004 Coordination Meeting representing 32 different entities. Representatives of seven of nine Great Lake states (IL and PA not represented), eight Tribal/First Nation natural resource agencies, four U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, one Provincial agency, eight Universities, three Consulting/Private organizations, and one non-governmental organization.

Presented at the meeting were 24 oral presentations, 8 posters, and a GIS tributary database demonstration. Seven talks addressed the themes of genetic stock structure, conservation stocking considerations and hatchery rearing. Two presentations focused on techniques for sturgeon status assessment. Eight talks featured habitat classification and enhancement methodology. Four presentations addressed sturgeon passage issues such as policy and regulations, experimental approaches to upstream and downstream passage, and opportunities for removal and habitat restoration, and three presentations summarized information on regulation changes, status determination and rehabilitation progress. The presentation schedule, titles, and presenters/authors is are on pages 7 – 9, and oral and poster presentation abstracts can be found on pages 10 – 20.

The presentations addressing sturgeon passage were given by four invited experts: Dr. Luther Aadland (Minnesota DNR), Steve Amaral (Alden Lab), Dr. Boyd Kynard (USGS Conte Anadromous Fish Laboratory), and Gary Whelan (Michigan DNR). Following their presentations, these individuals comprised an expert panel, moderated by Dave Bryson (USFWS) that addressed questions and inquiries from meeting participants. The panel discussion session is paraphrased on pages 21-30.

Two facilitated breakout sessions were held to address topics pertinent to sturgeon rehabilitation in the Great Lakes and to encourage communication and interaction among participants. The first breakout session was subject oriented and the second was organized by basin(s). For the subject breakout session six topics were offered for group discussion and individuals chose which discussion topic to attend. The topics were sturgeon health and contaminants, use of GIS technology for sturgeon rehabilitation, habitat suitability and classification, sturgeon passage and hydropower operation, emerging issues or problems that could result as sturgeon populations recover, and habitat restoration and enhancement. Summary notes from the topic oriented session are on pages 31 - 40.

Four basin oriented groups were formed for the second breakout session. The basin groups were Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, combined Lake Huron and Lake Erie (including Lake St. Clair and Detroit River), and Lake Ontario combined with the St. Lawrence River. This session served as an opportunity for those working or interested in sturgeon related activities on a particular basin to gather and discuss topics of importance to participants. Summary notes from the basin oriented breakout sessions are on pages 41 – 50.

Poster presentations were displayed during an evening potluck social held in the motel atrium the evening of day one. Participants contributed home cooked and purchased foods for the potluck which drew about 75 individuals. The social provided participants an opportunity to view posters, network with fellow sturgeon enthusiasts in a relaxed social setting, and if they were lucky, to hear their name called for one of the sturgeon related door prizes.

Meeting feedback and comments submitted by participants on the evaluation form is summarized on pages 51-52. Meeting participant names and contact information is on pages 54 – 60 and biographical information provided by participants prior to the meeting is on pages 61 – 79.

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