Sturgeon Today and Forever
The St. Regis Mohawk tribe has been working with NYSDEC and USGS on lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) restoration. In 1996 the first successful egg takes occurred in Massena from fish captured adjacent to the Robert Moses Power Project.
Egg Take: 2 persons, 3.5 days (begin at midnight when full compliment of fish are in tanks)
- hormone injections (begin at midnight)
- hormone injections (@ hour 12)
- Assist in all aspects of sturgeon egg take; sperm harvest, stripping, fertilization, de-adhesion, etc).
- Following the completion of the egg take, tear down holding facility and remove to appropriate storage at NYPA.
Native fish conservation, restoration and rehabilitation programs are a key activity for natural resource agencies. Lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) is a fish species that is considered integral to native fish communities. One management tool that has proved effective is stocking of hatchery reared fish to reestablish populations in historic sturgeon waters. In New York the status of lake sturgeon is classified as either uncommon or extirpated in inland waters.
In 1993 the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) initiated a project to restore lake sturgeon as a viable self-sustaining component of the fish community in the St. Lawrence and its tributaries, including the Oswegatchie and St. Regis. An increase in the number of local populations will allow changing the species classification from Threatened to Special Concern in New York. In 1998 the NYSDEC began stocking fall fingerling sturgeon into the19.5 miles of the St. Regis below the first natural barrier (Brasher Falls). This river flows north from the Adirondacks to the St. Lawrence. The last 4.7 miles flow through Akwesasne, the territory of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe. Shared jurisdiction of this river will require close coordination to meet Akwesasne-Mohawk and NYSDEC plans for sturgeon restoration.
The goals of this study are to assess the survival of, and habitat use by, fish stocked in 98 to 00 (2977 fish) and evaluate the post-stocking movement and survival of fish to be stocked in 03-04 (2,000 fish). Work will include netting, mark-recapture evaluation, mapping of river habitats, and application of a habitat suitability model to the habitat. The results of this project status assessment will aid tribal, state, and federal managers efforts to more completely understand the restoration ecology of this native species and help to formulate a more effective sturgeon management plan for New York.