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.