The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a long tradition of scientific excellence and always uses the best-available science to inform its work to conserve fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitat for the benefit of the American public.
Created in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt, today's National Wildlife Refuge System protects habitats and wildlife across the country, from the Alaskan tundra to subtropical wetlands. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Refuge System's 560-plus refuges cover more than 150 million acres and protect nearly 1,400 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.
While national wildlife refuges were created to protect wildlife, they are for people too. Refuges are ideal places for people of all ages to explore and connect with the natural world. We invite you to learn more about and visit the national wildlife refuges and wetland management districts in Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.
The Mountain-Prairie Region's Office of Ecological Services (ES) works to restore and protect healthy populations of fish, wildlife, and plants and the environments upon which they depend. Using the best available science, ES personnel work with Federal, State, Tribal, local, and non-profit stakeholders, as well as private land owners, to avoid, minimize, and mitigate threats to our Nation's natural resources.
Providing leadership in the conservation of migratory bird habitat through partnerships, grants, and outreach for present and future generations. The Migratory Bird Program is responsible for maintaining healthy migratory bird populations for the benefit of the American people.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Fish and Aquatic Conservation Program in the Mountain-Prairie Region helps conserve, protect, and enhance aquatic resources and provides economically valuable recreational fishing to anglers across the country. The program comprises 12 National Fish Hatcheries.
Law enforcement is essential to virtually every aspect of wildlife conservation. The Office of Law Enforcement contributes to Service efforts to manage ecosystems, save endangered species, conserve migratory birds, preserve wildlife habitat, restore fisheries, combat invasive species, and promote international wildlife conservation.
External Affairs staff in the Mountain-Prairie Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides support to the regional office and field stations to communicate and facilitate information about the Service's programs to the public, media, Congress, Tribes, partners, and other stakeholders in the 8-state region.
Swarm of pallid sturgeon at Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery. Credit: Rob Holm / USFWS.
Pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus)
Species Description: The pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) has a flattened, shovel-shaped snout, possesses a long, slender, and completely armored caudal peduncle, and lacks a spiracle and belly scutes. Pallid sturgeon are bottom-oriented species. Pallid sturgeon can be long-lived (40+ years), with females reaching sexual maturity later than males. Pallid sturgeon at the northern end of their range can obtain sizes much larger than fish at the southern end of their range.
Actions: On March 4, 2013, the Service announced the availability of a revised recovery plan for the pallid sturgeon. This document is the first revision to the recovery plan since 1993. The revised recovery plan documents the current understanding of the species life history requirements, identifies probable threats that were not originally recognized, includes revised recovery criteria, and based on improved understanding of the species, describes those actions believed necessary to eventually delist the species.
On September 1, 2010, the Service announced a final rule to treat the Shovelnose Sturgeon as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (Act). The Service has determined it necessary to list the shovelnose sturgeon due to its similarity of appearance to the pallid sturgeon. Under this determination, the shovelnose sturgeon will be considered a threatened species in the portions of it range where it commonly overlaps with the endangered pallid sturgeon. Due to the similarity of appearance between the two sturgeon species, identification of the protected pallid sturgeon is difficult in the field, resulting in pallid sturgeon being mistakenly harvested as shovelnose sturgeon. We believe this action will aid the conservation and recovery of pallid sturgeon.
The Service is also enacting a special rule that will prohibit the harvest of any shovelnose sturgeon or shovelnose-pallid sturgeon hybrids, and the roe associated with or related to a commercial fishing activity. The special rule will apply only to activities that relate to the harvest of shovelnose sturgeon and shovelnose-pallid sturgeon hybrids for commercial fishing purposes and is not expected to impact commercial fishing targeting non-sturgeon species, recreational or other non-sturgeon commercial fishing activities. This special rule would not prohibit the legal commercial harvest of shovelnose sturgeon outside the range where it commonly overlaps with pallid sturgeon.
In 1990, we listed the pallid sturgeon as endangered under the Act. Threats identified in the listing package were habitat modifications, small population size, limited natural reproduction, hybridization, pollution and contaminants, and commercial harvest.
In 1993, we released the pallid sturgeon recovery plan. The short-term recovery objective was to prevent species extinction by establishing three captive brookstock populations in separate hatcheries. The long-term objective was to downlist and delist the species through protection, habitat restoration, and propagation activities by 2040.
Archived Actions : On March 15, 2013, the Service announced the availability of a draft revised recovery plan for the pallid sturgeon. The Service solicits review and comment from the public on this draft revised plan from March 15 through May 14, 2013.