Learn About Missouri’s Endangered Lake Sturgeon Recovery, March 30

MDC Fisheries Management Biologist (right) helps Gavin Stukenburg hold an 86-pound lake sturgeon Stukenburg snagged in 2022 at Maple Island Access. Photo: MDC

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) confirmed that state-endangered lake sturgeon spawned on April 23, 2022, along the Mississippi River in West Alton below the Melvin Price Lock and Dam (Number 26).  The event occurred at USACE’s Maple Island Access.  This was the first spawning to be confirmed since the activity was last seen in the same area in 2015.  These historic spawning events were the result of recovery efforts dating back more than 30 years.

What is the current state of lake sturgeons in Missouri?  What is the outlook for the future?  MDC Fisheries Management Biologist Travis Moore will address these questions and more at a special presentation Thursday, March 30 at 6 p.m.

The presentation will be held at the Audubon Center at Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary in West Alton, located less than two miles from where the spawning events took place in 2015 and 2022.  The program is offered in cooperation with the Audubon Society and the USACE.

Moore has been closely involved with the lake sturgeon recovery and monitoring program for 25 years and will talk about the history of the species in the Show-Me-State and the efforts to restore them to our waters.

Register for the event HERE.

Lake sturgeon were once common in our big rivers.  They are an ancient fish – existing for more than 150 million years.  But overharvest and river habitat degradation brought them nearly to extinction in Missouri by the early 1900s.

In 1974, MDC listed the species as a state endangered fish and banned their harvest. In 1984, MDC hatcheries, with help from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, began raising lake sturgeon from brood stock provided by the State of Wisconsin, and releasing them into the Mississippi.  For more than three decades, the span of time required for the fish to attain breeding age, MDC fisheries biologists have been monitoring the fish for signs of reproduction in the wild.

The presentation is free to attend, but advanced registration is required by going to https://short.mdc.mo.gov/4gr.

The Audubon Center at Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary is located at 301 Riverlands Way, off North U.S. Highway 67 and just south of the Clark Bridge to Alton, Il.

Learn more about lake sturgeon on MDC’s website at https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/lake-sturgeon.

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