For the first time in eight years, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Nebraska Game and Parks Department, and the Missouri Department of Conservation have found pallid sturgeon larva in the wild Missouri River, according to www.omaha.com.
The pallid sturgeon is an ancient fish, virtually unchanged for the last 70 million years. It was one of the first fish to be declared endangered in the Missouri River when new young decreased drastically after the damming and channelizing of the river.
Sturgeon need slow shallow backwaters to spawn. For the last couple of decades, sturgeon have been taken from the river, “milked” for sperm and eggs, and the resulting young returned to the river.
As with many fish, sturgeon reproduce by external fertilization, which leaves the young susceptible to being eaten by predators. Nebraska crews have sampled the river from Yankton, SD to the Nebraska/Kansas border with no success. These larva were found downstream of the Platte confluence, and biologists believe they may have come from spawning grounds along the lower Platte.
I could rewrite this, but Steve Schnarr, Program Manager of Missouri River Relief, a non-profit, environmental NGO based in Columbia, Missouri, says it just as well on his Facebook Page:
“The legislative assault on the Dept. of Conservation continues. The latest bill, SenateBill337 being heard tomorrow (April 14), would make it illegal (i.e. punishable by six months in prison) for any non-profit to work with the Mo. Dept. of Conservation. MDC does tons of great work in partnership with many nonprofits, from land management and restoration to education to, yes, river clean-ups. From the language, it seems like it would make Missouri Stream Team illegal. Here’s the definition of “prohibited conduct” – “entering into any contractual relationship with, or providing or receiving anything of value with or without compensation, including but not limited to professional or clerical services, work product, money, personal or real property, or property rights.”
“So in my life, for example, MDC will not be able to bring boats or education booths to clean-ups or the greatly appreciated funding that they provide to help us do what we do. They will not be able to partner with Mo. Prairie Foundation or Ducks Unlimited or Ozark Trail Association or Audubon Society or Missouri River Bird Observatory or Conservation Federation of Missouri or Nature Conservancy. Those kinds of partnerships leverage public and private skill and resources to get real big stuff done. I can’t imagine the purpose behind this bill but it needs to stop.”Continue reading What is with the war on Conservation?→