Panama City Ecological Services / Fish & Wildlife Conservation Office
Conserving the Nature of America


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Yellow River Spawning Areas



Sturgeon Spawning Habitat Project

Mapping potential spawning habitat and describing patterns of habitat use by adult Gulf sturgeon

Documenting and monitoring the extent and use of spawning habitat is considered an important management objective for the recovery of the threatened Gulf sturgeon. Rivers like the Yellow have limited spawning habitat; this habitat can be degraded or lost by erosion and sedimentation or altered flows. The goal of this project is to document all of the potential spawning habitat available to Gulf sturgeon in the Yellow River, and to describe patterns of habitat use by sturgeon during several, consecutive spawning seasons. To accomplish this goal the river was first mapped using side scan sonar, and all hard bottom areas- places that might serve as sites for sturgeon egg deposition- were identified and tentatively classified. Discrete areas were selected for monitoring using VEMCO receivers deployed underwater (e.g., Honeycomb shoal). A large number of adult sturgeon are currently fitted with acoustic transmitters as part of the NOAA-based mortality, and Gulf oil spill/NRDA investigations. These transmitters repeatedly emit signals that are recorded by the submerged receivers. This study, and its extension to the remaining Gulf drainages, seizes upon the opportunity provided by the sonic tagging programs to investigate sturgeon spawning activities in greater detail across the range of the species.

*For more information on these, and other ongoing research investigations involving low-cost side scan sonar, please contact Adam Kaeser at the Panama City USFWS field office (see “The Developers” link for contact information).





Last updated: February 13, 2017