St. Lawrence River Lake Sturgeon
Project Title
St. Lawrence River Lake Sturgeon Telemetry Project
Project Code
STLLS
Project Duration
October 2022 - October 2026
Project Description
Entrainment in turbines by hydroelectric facilities is a known cause of Lake Sturgeon mortality in the upper St. Lawrence River. In addition to turbine mortality, the construction of the Moses-Saunders Power Dam (MSPD) eliminated an upstream spawning area and impeded movement of Lake Sturgeon in the St. Lawrence River. In 2007, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) constructed two spawning beds at the Iroquois Water Control Dam near Waddington, NY. Post construction monitoring was completed in 2008 where spawning Lake Sturgeon were observed; as well as egg deposition and larval sturgeon were documented downstream of both spawning beds. Following this successful monitoring effort, NYPA constructed spawning beds downstream of the Moses Generating Station in 2010; however, post construction monitoring by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has shown little utilization by Lake Sturgeon for spawning on these beds. Beginning in 2019, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) entered into a 5-year agreement with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Genoa National Fish Hatchery (GNFH). As part of a cooperative effort with the NYSDEC and the Lake Sturgeon Recovery Plan, GNFH will provide 5000 juvenile Lake Sturgeon annually for release in the upper St. Lawrence River near Ogdensburg, NY. Each of these sturgeon fingerlings has an individual coded wire tag identifying the stocking year and gamete source. From 2022-2023, OPG proposes to tag 50 juvenile Lake Sturgeon collected via short duration multi mesh size gill netting in the upper St. Lawrence River. Stocked Lake Sturgeon can be identified by a coded wire tag detector. Both stocked and wild sturgeon will be tagged with either a V9 (504 days tag life) or V13 (895 days tag life). In 2023, the USFWS and NYSDEC began tagging adult Lake Sturgeon below the MSPD to examine site fidelity and dispersal patterns of sturgeon throughout the St. Lawrence River, including Lake St. Francis. This project also includes tagging adult sturgeon upstream of the MSPD to examine movement patterns, habitat selection, and site fidelity.
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Funding