The Pallid Sturgeon Recovery Program

After a long history of ancestral survival through environmental disruptions, mass extinctions and multiple glaciations of North America, this unique fish, the Pallid Sturgeon, is in murky water both literally and figuratively.

By the 1980s few young individuals had been observed in the preceding decade and sightings of older fish were rare.  In May of 1988 Mr. Peter Carrels on behalf of the Dacotah Chapter of the Sierra Club petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to list the pallid sturgeon as Endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Mr. Carrels’ letter and the petition can be found under the Endangered Species Act tab under the heading When and Why.

In response to the petition the Service conducted a review of the status and threats to pallid sturgeon.  The following known and potential threats that affect the habitat or range of pallid sturgeon were identified:  1) large river habitat alterations, including river channelization, impoundment, and altered flow regimes; 2) water quality; 3) entrainment; and 4) climate change. On September 6, 1990, the  Service placed the pallid sturgeon on the endangered species list.

In 1993 the Service published the Pallid Sturgeon Recovery Plan. A partnership between Federal, State and local organizations formed to implement the plan.

The Service is currently (April, 2013)  seeking comment on a revision to the 1993 Pallid Sturgeon Recovery Plan.  Most of the information found on this site has been taken from the draft revised Pallid Sturgeon Recovery Plan