In 2003, the US Army Corps of Engineers initiated the Pallid Sturgeon Population Assessment Program (PSPAP) to monitor pallid sturgeon and the fish community of the Missouri River. The power analysis of PSPAP presented here was conducted to guide sampling design and effort decisions. The PSPAP sampling design has a nested structure with multiple gear subsamples within a river bend. Power analyses were based on a normal linear mixed model, using a mixed cell means approach, with variance estimates from the original data. It was found that, at current effort levels, at least 20 years for pallid and 10 years for shovelnose sturgeon is needed to detect a 5% annual decline. Modified bootstrap simulations suggest power estimates from the original data are conservative due to excessive zero fish counts. In general, the approach presented is applicable to a wide array of animal monitoring programs.