Understanding of the pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) has increased significantly since the species was listed as endangered over two decades ago. Since 2005, scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Columbia Environmental Research Center (CERC) have been engaged in an interdisciplinary research program in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Missouri River Recovery Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, and numerous other State and Federal cooperators to provide managers and policy makers with the knowledge needed to evaluate recovery options. During that time, the USGS has worked collaboratively with river scientists and managers to develop methods, baseline information, and research approaches that are critical contributions to recovery success.
The pallid sturgeon is endangered throughout the Missouri River because of insufficient reproduction and survival of early life stages. Primary management actions on the Missouri River designed to increase reproductive success and survival have focused on flow regime, channel morphology, and propagation. The CERC research strategies have, therefore, been designed to examine the linkages among flow regime, re-engineered channel morphology, and reproductive success and survival. Specific research objectives include the following: (1) understanding reproductive physiology of pallid sturgeon and relations to environmental conditions; (2) determining movement, habitat use, and reproductive behavior of pallid sturgeon; and (3) quantifying availability and dynamics of aquatic habitats needed by pallid sturgeon for all life stages.