Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
The white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) of the Kootenai River was listed as endangered on September 6, 1994 by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. This transboundary population, residing in Kootenay Lake and Kootenay River in Canada, and the Kootenai River in the US, has been in general decline since the mid-1960's. There has been very little recruitment to this population in the last 20 years.This population became isolated from other white sturgeon populations of the Columbia River basin during the last ice age of approximately 10,000 years ago. The population adapted to the pre-development conditions of the Kootenai system, with a high spring freshet and extensive side channel and low-lying delta marshlands. Modification of the Kootenai River by human activities, such as industrial developments, floodplain dyking, and dam construction has changed the hydrograph of the Kootenai River, altering sturgeon spawning, incubation and rearing habitats and reducing overall biological productivity.A Kootenai River white sturgeon draft recovery plan was prepared by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in cooperation with other agencies in the US and Canada. The plan was peer reviewed and there was a parallel public consultation process, where public commentary was invited from both sides of the international border. The short-term recovery objectives of the recovery plan are to prevent extinction and re-establish successful natural recruitment. The identified long-term objectives are the re-establishment of a self sustaining population and the restoration of productive habitat, in order to downlist to threatened status and subsequently delist this population when recovery is well established. Specific actions needed for recovery include spring flow augmentation during the reproduction period; a conservation aquaculture program to prevent near-term extinction; habitat restoration, and research and monitoring programs to evaluate recovery progress.
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