The southern distinct population segment (DPS) of the green sturgeon is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The green sturgeon’s occurrence and habitat use, particularly in the ocean, is not well known. Therefore it is currently unknown if the green sturgeon occurs and uses areas where the Navy conducts training and testing activities. The objectives of this project are to use acoustic telemetry in order to determine 1) the location of green sturgeon detections within Washington, 2) the season for specific habitat use (e.g., estuaries; coastal waters), 3) the frequency an animal moves between coastal and estuarine waters, and 4) the range of each tagged animal.
Fish sampling and tagging effort will occur in Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay. Four acoustic telemetry receivers compatible with the existing acoustic receiver array on the Washington coast will be deployed and checked periodically for green sturgeon tag detections. Green sturgeon will be tagged with Passive Integrated Transponder and acoustic pinger tags. A small tissue sample will be collected for genetic analysis.
Location: Washington (Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay)
Funding: FY20 $158k
Principal Investigator, Laura Heironimus, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Project Manager, Christopher Hunt, NAVFAC Northwest
Program Manager, Andrea Balla-Holden, Pacific Fleet Environmental Readiness Division