Headed North

With telemetered female pallid sturgeon done spawning in the Lower Missouri River, the USGS tracking crews from Missouri packed up their equipment at the beginning of June and headed north to Montana and the Yellowstone River.  It was a two day drive from Columbia, Missouri to Sidney, Montana where they joined biologists from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) and biologist, Pat Braaten, from the USGS Field Office in Fort Peck, Montana.  Pat and his colleagues from MFWP had been tracking adult pallid sturgeon on the upper Missouri River from Lake Sakakawea upstream to Fort Peck Dam, and up the Yellowstone River to Intake Dam.  The Missouri tracking crews were there to help document the migration behavior of large, fast moving, adult pallid sturgeon up the Yellowstone River, and to determine when and where they are spawning.   Every reach of river within the species’ range has been modified and altered by human activities.  Scientists hope that by comparing what pallid sturgeon do in different reaches of the Missouri River, they can gain insight into how sturgeon behavior may be altered in response to different threats, and why sturgeon do what sturgeon do.

Biologist, Dave Combs prepares a tracking boat (foreground) and a DIDSON survey boat (background) to search the Yellowstone River for tagged pallid sturgeon, Near Fairview, Montana. Pallid sturgeon in Montana are tagged with radio telemetry transmitters that are detected with large antennas mounted the boats.

By Aaron DeLonay

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