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Tuesday, January 26 • 2:00pm - 2:20pm
Habitat Suitability Modeling and Management Implications For Young-of-Year and Juvenile Lake Sturgeon Acipenser Fulvescens in Large River Systems: A Case Study in the St. Clair River, MI

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AUTHORS: Joseph R. Krieger*, University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment; James S. Diana, University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: This study determined the quantity, quality, and spatial distribution of riverine nursery habitat for YOY and juvenile (< 500 mm) lake sturgeon in a portion of the St. Clair River (SCR), MI., and demonstrates the need for system specific sampling and monitoring efforts for early-stage individuals in large river systems. A habitat suitability model was developed using georeferenced habitat information on substrate, invertebrate composition, flow, depth and larval sturgeon distribution. High quality habitat constituted 39.8% of the study area; was located primarily in river bends and other areas where water velocities rapidly changed, and possessed moderate invertebrate densities, a mix of sand and silt substrate, and depths exceeding 7 m. Larval sampling revealed three areas of high densities representing 91.2 % of total catch; all of which occurred in areas characterized by the model as high quality habitat. This study highlights an abundance of habitat suitable for YOY and juvenile lake sturgeon within the SCR and suggests a shift in sampling methodologies of early-stage lake sturgeon in this and other large river systems is warranted.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST
Emerald B