This month, DECEMBER 2020, FISH is asking you to give just a few minutes of your time! By helping us in our effort to obtain Endangered Species Act protection for the lake sturgeon, particularly the #inlakesturgeon, Indiana’s threatened population in Lawrence and Martin counties, in the East Fork White River. PLEASE go to the link at the bottom of this post and submit your official comment to the federal government, and PLEASE ask others to do so by sharing this post with them. Here are the key facts, followed by actions that FISH sees as crucial for the survival of Indiana’s lake sturgeon:
Today, while several populations have experienced varying levels of recovery, many lake sturgeon populations remain imperiled.
– US Fish & Wildlife Service, Midwest Region
Most of the remaining lake sturgeon populations in the United States are restricted in movement resulting from construction of dams… Lake sturgeon are blocked from spawning sites or prevented from even entering a system.
– USDA Forest Service, Eastern Region, September 2003
Lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens), a state-endangered fish species, once inhabited all the large rivers in the Ohio River drainage… It is now, for the most part, only found in a small stretch of the East Fork White River… This [“small”] population is the only Ohio River strain of lake sturgeon remaining in the entire Ohio River drainage.
– DNR 2014 Wildlife Science Report
The long-term persistence of lake sturgeon in the Ohio River system is dependent upon the conservation of the White River population and initiation of reintroduction programs in other reaches of the Ohio River watershed. The genetic integrity of the Ohio River stock may be reliant upon the exclusive reintroduction of White River lake sturgeon in that system… it is clear that management agencies involved in the reintroduction of lake sturgeon into the Ohio River drainage should focus their efforts on protecting the White River population and developing appropriate strategies to reintroduce lake sturgeon from this source into other portions of the Ohio River drainage.
– Drauch, Fisher et al 2007
Fact: The small population of Ohio River strain of lake sturgeon survive in only about 50 river miles of the East Fork White River (EFWR). They are blocked from migrating and spawning further upstream by Williams Dam.
Fact: Neither the Indiana DNR nor the US Fish and Wildlife Service are attempting to hatch and reintroduce lake sturgeon from the EFWR. Nor are they making any efforts to protect their habitat. That habitat and the lake sturgeon are currently threatened by plans for construction of the “Mid-States Corridor” superhighway.
Therefore: The US Fish & Wildlife service should declare, before the end of 2021, that lake sturgeon are protected under the Endangered Species Act. In Indiana, state and federal officials should 1. Declare critical habitat for the Ohio River strain; 2. Protect and enhance that habitat, including 3. Removal of Williams Dam; and 4. Begin a robust program of hatching and reintroduction of the Ohio River strain.
Go to this link to see official information on this process, and simply click the COMMENT button at upper left; lake sturgeon are Docket # FWS-R3-ES-2018-0110: