U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
GREAT LAKES BASIN ECOSYSTEM TEAM
LAKE STURGEON COMMITTEE
of Research and Management Needs
November 1, 2000
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is implementing an ecosystem approach to address its federal responsibilities. Service staff working within the Great Lakes drainage basin have been organized into the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem Team (Ecoteam) in order to address Great Lakes issues. The Ecoteam is identifying federal concerns and working with State and Native American tribal resource managers to identify resource goals, objectives and action strategies. The Ecoteam has identified three broad, basin-wide issues on which to focus its efforts. One of these basin-wide issues included lake sturgeon restoration and passage. Lake sturgeon restoration was selected because it could benefit from the combined efforts of Ecoteam members. As a result of the Ecoteam's lake sturgeon priority issue for the basin, a Lake Sturgeon Committee was established to identify and address action items. One action item of the Committee was to develop a list of research and management needs to guide the Service's lake sturgeon restoration activities in the Great Lakes Basin. The Service will work with state, provincial, tribal, and federal agencies to develop research programs that address the needs.
streams with present populations of lake sturgeon.
present populations of lake sturgeon.
and enhance habitat, including fishways, in designated lake sturgeon streams.
appropriate stocking strategies to rehabilitate extirpated lake sturgeon
populations in historically significant streams.
¨ Develop a basin-wide lake sturgeon recovery/enhancement plan.
Assess historic and current lake sturgeon producing streams and identify
impediments/barriers, which may have caused a reduction in the number or area of
these waters available to lake sturgeon.
Develop and conduct status surveys of remnant lake sturgeon populations
in and adjacent to historic spawning streams to estimate the abundance and
recruitment potential of all remnant, free-ranging Great Lakes stocks.
Determine the time periods and movement patterns of adult and
juvenile lake sturgeon relative to utilization of spawning tributaries and
nearshore waters so to identify and characterize remaining critical habitat for
all life stages in the Great Lakes Basin. Begin the process of mapping known
spawning, nursery and feeding microhabitats to enhance efforts for protection
2. Conduct research to determine if and at what life stage lake sturgeon imprint to the tributaries, and determine if spawning occurs in lake environments.
Determine the minimum flow requirements in lake sturgeon streams; the impacts of
low water levels that de-water potential spawning or larval habitat; the effects
of water level fluctuations on lake sturgeon spawning success and egg and fry
survival; and the effects on aquatic vegetation and invertebrates.
Develop techniques for passage of lake sturgeon on streams which
historically supported spawning populations but are now blocked by
hydro-projects, and for streams where spawning habitat is limited due to
hydro-projects. The techniques selected for passage of lake sturgeon also will
block sea lamprey.
Develop methods to pass sturgeon around low-head dams and
also block sea lamprey.
Determine entrainment effects during downstream passage.
On tributaries where barrier passage is possible, identify the potential
for lake sturgeon exposure to, accumulation of, or transport of toxic chemicals
above the barriers.
lake sturgeon mortality associated with inter-specific predation on eggs and
drifting larvae on and near the spawning sites.
Evaluate the impact of bio-accumulation of toxic substances on
growth, reproduction, survival, and body burden and possible impact on human
Evaluate diet of lake sturgeon and possible overlap and
competitions with other species currently abundant in the Great Lakes (e.g.
white sucker, longnose sucker).
of artificial propagation in lake sturgeon recovery efforts will require healthy
and genetically appropriate donor stocks to provide the necessary gametes for
Continue genetic research to identify markers and analytical techniques
useful and most effective for population differentiation to assist in
development of recovery efforts.
Perform stock structure analysis to determine the extent of
differentiation among Great Lakes spawning populations.
Determine the genetic variability among spawning populations to identify
the most suitable stocking sources and effective mating/breeding schemes.
Research techniques for genetically tagging and identifying individuals.
a Great Lakes Basin Lake Sturgeon Recovery/Enhancement Plan to coordinate and
direct efforts to protect, restore, enhance, and manage lake sturgeon.
feasibility and appropriateness of stocking lake sturgeon, including
impact on remnant stocks and optimum stocking sizes and rates.
disseminate, and expand hatchery breeding and rearing techniques to maximize
survival of quality hatchery products, minimize costs, and standardize efforts
throughout the basin.
an acceptable amount of lake sturgeon harvest and work toward establishment of a
basin-wide regulation to sustain healthy populations.
public outreach and participation programs to obtain citizen interest and
involvement in lake sturgeon recovery/management efforts.
Quantify mortality of adult and sub-adult lake sturgeon due to
illegal harvest, and initiate law enforcement actions to eliminate it.
2. Conduct investigations to determine what impact illegal activity such as poaching, pollution, habitat degradation, etc., can have on the sturgeon population.
SEA LAMPREY CONTROL
1. Address constraints on the effective application of lampricides in lake sturgeon streams by conducting extensive fishery surveys to determine current population status.
Great Lakes Lake Sturgeon Website