Science Advisory Report 2010/049

Recovery potential assessment of Lake Sturgeon: Saskatchewan River populations (Designatable Unit 2)

Summary

  • Six Management Units (MUs) have been identified for DU2: MU1 is located on the North Saskatchewan River downstream of the Bighorn Generating Station (GS), MU2 on the South Saskatchewan River upstream of Gardiner GS, MU3 on the South Saskatchewan River downstream of Gardiner GS to the forks of the North Saskatchewan and South Saskatchewan rivers, MU4 between the forks and François-Finley GS on the Saskatchewan River, MU5 between François-Finley GS and E.B. Campbell GS and MU6 between E.B. Campbell GS and Grand Rapids GS.
  • Available data and expert opinion indicate that Lake Sturgeon abundance in DU2 ranges from very low to moderate.
  • In MUs 1, 2 and 4, the current status is cautious, population trajectory is stable or increasing and potential for recovery is high.
  • The status of MU5 is thought to be cautious though its trajectory is unknown.
  • The status of MUs 3 and 6 is deemed critical with an unknown trajectory in MU3 and stable trajectory in MU6.
  • Survival and recovery of Lake Sturgeon in DU2 depend on maintaining the functional attributes of habitat, including the ecologically-based flow regimes needed for spawning, egg incubation, juvenile rearing, summer feeding and overwintering, as well as migration routes between these habitats.
  • The long-term recovery goal for DU2 is to protect and maintain healthy, viable populations of Lake Sturgeon in all six MUs in the Saskatchewan rivers system.
  • The most important current threats to survival and recovery of Lake Sturgeon in DU2 are habitat degradation or loss resulting from dams/impoundments and other barriers, agriculture, urban development and forestry, mortality, injury or reduced survival resulting from fishing, and population fragmentation resulting from dams/impoundments and other barriers.
  • Mitigation measures that would aid recovery include protection of habitat, prevention of mortality and public education.
  • Activities that damage or destroy functional components of habitat or negatively affect key life components of the life cycle pose a very high risk to the survival or recovery of Lake Sturgeon in MUs 3 and 5, a moderate to high risk in MUs 1, 4 and 6 and a moderate risk in MU2.

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