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Monday, January 25 • 3:20pm - 3:40pm
Why Sturgeon Matter

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AUTHORS: Marty Holtgren*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Lake sturgeon matter to people, communities and agencies yet the full range of how sturgeon are valued has been largely unexplored until recently. The sturgeon is an imperiled species where human activities are largely responsible for their demise but also for recovery efforts. Because sturgeon populations have been dramatically reduced their survival has been largely dependent on human intervention yet increasingly human communities are depending upon sturgeon for cultural sustenance and social solidarity. Accordingly, the sturgeon, and other imperiled species, may provide fishery managers an opportunity to engage in mutually beneficial and multi-cultural restoration efforts that bring historically disparate people and agencies together. For imperiled fish species, plans for restoration are often described through ecological principles and governmental statutes. Increasingly, especially in the field of restoration ecology, the effectiveness of a restoration projects is evaluated upon “if it matters to people” of the watershed. In order to understand how a species matters biologists must determine the human connections it provides and how an alteration to a natural resource may change how human communities interact with the watershed. This is difficult because how restoration matters includes political, economic and ecological elements in addition to social/cultural perspectives. If biologists are willing to embrace this type of thinking and use their technical “expert knowledge” alongside knowledge and values from people intimately connected to the landscape they may realize benefits to imperiled species that were unattainable when exclusively using ecological success criteria. In this presentation we will describe how lake sturgeon restoration efforts may produce recovery of the species and resiliency of social-ecological systems.

Monday January 25, 2016 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
Emerald A