Muskegon River System Lake Sturgeon
Project Title
Movement and Habitiat Use of Adult and Juvenile Lake Sturgeon in the Muskegon River System, Michigan
Project Code
Project Duration
January 2010 - April 2017
Project Description
Most populations of lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) in the Great Lakes remain severely depressed and are in need of rehabilitation. Since the 1980s, concern by state and federal agencies as well as general interest from the public in the protection and enhancement of lake sturgeon populations has increased. In order to proceed effectively, it is essential for management agencies throughout the Great Lakes to understand the reproductive dynamics and habitat requirements for all life stages of the species. The Muskegon River system in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula supports a small but naturally reproducing population of lake sturgeon. Long-term reproductive dynamics and spawning behavior (e.g., spawning site identification and residency times) of this population are not well understood, and continued monitoring of lake sturgeon is required to aid in population rehabilitation. Our efforts will address these issues by focusing on adult lake sturgeon distribution in the Muskegon River system. Information gathered from this project will lead to answers necessary for future population restoration and protection. In 2011 and 2012, 13 adult lake sturgeon were surgically implanted with ultrasonic transmitters during their spring spawning migrations in the Muskegon River system. Up to 12 additional ultrasonic transmitters will be implanted in adult lake sturgeon during spring 2013. Movements of these fish are subsequently monitored with a series of submersible ultrasonic receivers that are strategically placed to investigate duration and location in the river, time spent at the selected spawning site, and time spent pre- and post-spawn in Muskegon Lake. Movement of these fish will continue for the 4-year life of the tag, which is 2017.
Management Benefits
Participating Organizations