Rising To The Challenge

CSRP biologists working on the Missouri River have no shortage of challenges; each year brings a fresh crop.  In 2011, biologists were dealt record high flows that persisted through summer making work on the river trying.  Field crews found it necessary to employ tandem tracking, using two boats, one on each side of the river, to effectively detect telemetered pallid sturgeon (see blog entry “Sometimes It Takes Two”).  In 2012, spring came early and water temperatures increased quickly, reaching suitable spawning temperatures (15°C) 4 to 6 weeks earlier than normal.  For CSRP biologists that meant the discontinuation of spring sampling and scrambling to prepare for a fast approaching spawning season (see previous blog entry “An Early Spawning Recorded”).  As summer wore into fall, substantial drought and subsequent low river levels limited access and presented a new set of logistical issues (see previous blog entry “How Low Can It Go?”).  This year, the uncertainty of federal budget sequestration limits CSRP staffing and travel, yet again testing our creativity and versatility.  However, CSRP biologists are an unwavering sort and will meet the coming challenges of 2013  with determination and dedication.

Mean discharge and temperature of the Missouri River near Hermann, MO. The dashed bars represent the approximate threshold for pallid sturgeon spawning. In 2012, spawning temperatures were reached in March. Previous spawning events typically have occurred later in the springtime, from late April to early May.

Completed with contributions by Kimberly Chojnacki and Jake Faulkner

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