An operation at a dam on the Menominee River that relocates sturgeon upriver has helped biologists in their efforts to improve sturgeon populations and has given researchers a new way to track whether those sturgeon are spawning.
About 400 sturgeon were relocated farther upstream between 2015 and 2019 thanks to an elevator installation at the Menominee Dam, located about two miles upriver from the mouth of Lake Michigan at Green Bay. Bypassing the dams means the sturgeon are able to access their historical spawning sites—an important achievement for the sturgeon whose numbers dropped to the hundreds in the past few centuries.
Lake sturgeon number about one percent of their historical abundance, said Patrick Forsythe, an associate professor of biology at UW-Green Bay who focuses on aquatic ecosystems and fish populations in the Great Lakes. Overharvesting and pollution have been particularly devastating to the populations, as well as dams that have blocked the sturgeon from getting to their spawning sites. Adult sturgeon exhibit homing behavior, which means that they return to spawn in the streams where they were born. See more via WPR.