In the past few weeks I have blogged about some of the springtime field work that occupies the fisheries staff of the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission (e.g. Piking, Easter Egg Hunt). I cannot tell you everything our fisheries workers are doing, just know that spring is a very busy time. But, I do have another activity that I want to tell you about. . . .We have crews on the Missouri River collecting broodstock pallid sturgeon as well! Even better, here is a video that shows you what those crews, and the volunteers helping them, are accomplishing:
Pallid sturgeon are an endangered species. Part of the recovery plan for that species is to collect sexually-mature pallid sturgeon and then take eggs from those fish that can be hatched in federal fish hatcheries and then stocked back into their native habitat. The work Nebraska crews are doing are a huge part of that effort!
Without my going into a lot of detail, go back and read this report on last year’s efforts, 2014 Pallid Sturgeon Brood Stock Collection. You can follow the progress of this year’s efforts on the FaceBook page, NGPC Pallid Sturgeon Broodstock.
Here are a few interesting facts about this work: The sturgeon are collected on trotlines, long lines with a series of hooks, and the hooks are baited with nightcrawlers. Last year 17,000 nightcrawlers were used, and only a handful were eaten by rookie crew members. If those ‘crawlers were laid end-to-end, they would have stretched 1.8 miles!
Last year 138 volunteers helped collect pallid sturgeon broodstock and when those fish were spawning, they were spawning–the crews had to be on the river! In April 2014 those crews worked on the river, in the elements, in temperatures that ranged from 19 degrees F to 85 degrees F. Last year 221 pallid sturgeon were caught on the trotlines and 36 of those fish were sent to fish hatcheries to be used as brood fish. Those fish produced 19,582 pallid sturgeon that were stocked back into the Missouri River.
A big THANK YOU to the crews and especially all the volunteers that assist!