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Wednesday, February 8 • 8:20am - 8:40am
Technical Session. Migration and Spawning of Pallid Sturgeon in the Platte River, Nebraska

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AUTHORS: Justin D. Haas, J. David Adams, Ryan L. Ruskamp - Nebraska Game and Parks Commission; Aaron DeLonay, Kimberly A. Chojnacki - U.S. Geological Survey; Gerald E. Mestl, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission


ABSTRACT:
The U.S. Geological Survey and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission have collaborated to use telemetry and archival data tags to track spawning endangered pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) in the Lower Missouri River.  A total of 33 confirmed spawning events by 27 unique females was recorded from 2007–2015.  Eight of the recorded spawning events (24%) happened in the Platte River, Nebraska from 2011–2014.  The Platte River spawning events were recorded from four different females, each spawning in successive reproductive cycles.  Spawning events were confirmed by recapture and reproductive assessment of tagged pallid sturgeon prior to entry into the Platte River and following their return into the main-stem Missouri River.  Temperature and depth data retrieved from the implanted archival tags confirmed the time of entry, residence, and exit of the females in the Platte River.  Although the pallid sturgeon were not intensively tracked to their spawning location or spawning behavior documented, the preponderance of evidence indicates that pallid sturgeon spawned in the Platte River.  Use of the Platte River by multiple females during consecutive spawning cycles across varying temperature and flow conditions indicates that the use of the Platte River for spawning may not be opportunistic, but rather suggests selection or preference for the Platte River.  The distinction between selection for general environmental conditions and individual spawning site fidelity among migrating reproductive pallid sturgeon has management and recovery implications; however, resolving this distinction will require many observations over an extended time.  Our study suggests only that spawning occurred and did not document reproductive success.  Further studies are needed to determine the relative importance of the Platte River to pallid sturgeon reproduction in the Lower Missouri River Basin.

Wednesday February 8, 2017 8:20am - 8:40am
Grand Ballroom D

Attendees (7)