Hatchery Manual and Mitigation Actions for the Threatened/Endangered Upper Columbia and Kootenai River stocks of White Sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus)
In 1994 the Kootenai River stock of white sturgeon was listed as endangered under the United States’ Endangered Species Act, and in 2006 the Upper Columbia River stock of white sturgeon was listed as endangered under Canada’s Species at Risk Act. Both stocks have been placed under a conservation and recovery plan since their listing, including an immediate hatchery mitigation program. The primary reason for their reduction in numbers is a complete recruitment failure caused primarily by anthropogenic changes to their historical spawning grounds. While research is being conducted to determine the exact cause of recruitment failure, hatcheries have begun to produce and release juvenile white sturgeon in an effort to preserve both stocks until a naturally breeding population can be re-established. This document covers some of the research into causes of recruitment failure as well as improved techniques for management of hatchery-raised white sturgeon. Special attention was paid to the management practices being conducted at the newest white sturgeon mitigation hatchery operated by the Kootenai Tribe, the Twin Rivers Hatchery. Research on recruitment failure seems to agree that a major factor in the failure is anthropogenic changes to spawning ground substrate. While conservation plans continue to investigate means of re-establishing natural recruitment, hatcheries continue to raise and release juvenile sturgeon to preserve remaining genetic diversity. Well over 100,000 juveniles have been released in each river system starting as early as 1995, and studies are beginning to investigate the success of hatchery-reared sturgeon. Format: This paper follows the style and formatting found in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management.
DepartmentWildlife and Fisheries Sciences
Kelton, Jason (2017). Hatchery Manual and Mitigation Actions for the Threatened/Endangered Upper Columbia and Kootenai River stocks of White Sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus). Available electronically from