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NAM RESTORATION Nam restoration effortsin the Lake Superior basin. It is here that milt and eggs collected from spawning adults on the Sturgeon Riverlocated 75 miles to the eastare transformed into 5-8 inch fingerlings under the supervision of USFWS biologists. It works out great that we can provide fish for the St. Louis while working on the Ontonagon Quinlan said. An intake pipe submerged into the Ontonagon circulates water through the sturgeon holding tanksan attempt to imprint fish to the river and encourage them to return to spawn as adults. Inmid-JulyFdLfisheriestechniciansjoinedUSFWSstaffatthehatcherytrailer to prepare nearly 1500 fingerlings for their release into the upper Chigamiiziibi near Brookston. Quinlan and Glenn Miller USFWS fishery biologist inserted a tiny PIT Passive Integrated Transponder tag just underneath the skin near the third scuteone of the bony plates that takes the place of scales found on most fish. A team of FdL technicians measured weighed and barcoded each indi- vidual sturgeon fitted with a PIT tag before their trip to the St. Louis River release site at Brookston. In future sturgeon assessments fisheries technicians will pass a handheld receiver over the PIT site like checkout line barcoding in a store. Quinlan said PIT tags help biologists monitor growth rates and better understand habitat preferences. The remaining lake sturgeon fingerlings from the hatchery trailer are due for release below the Victoria Dam on the Ontonagon River later this summer. Keweenaw Bay tracks sturgeon in Gichigami The Keweenaw Bay Natural Resources Department KBNRD has a vested interestinLakeSuperiorlakesturgeonpopulations.Foroveradecadepassivedata collection by the KBNRD regarding this valuable species has led to the compila- tion of important information from fish captured by licensed KBIC commercial and subsistence fishers in their harvest efforts which typically target lake trout and lake whitefish. KBNRD has also assisted in additional limited lake sturgeon research efforts while coordinating with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service MichiganDepartmentofNaturalResourcesOttawaNationalForestandMichigan Technological University. Since 2002 lake sturgeon have been captured and assessed by KBNRD staff during intensified survey efforts specifically targeting this species. Captured lake sturgeon are tagged with a unique Floy-Tag and tag numbers are recorded as well as total length fork length girth and weight if possible prior to the fish being released. A tissue sample is also collected from each lake sturgeon small flesh sample cut from the left pectoral fin for genetic research. Sturgeons are scanned for potential presence of coded wire andor Pit Tags with a handheld metal detec- tion unit. The primary objectives for KBNRD lake sturgeon management include 1 Continuation of long-term lake sturgeon population monitoring 2 Continuation of periodic fish community abundance data collection 3 Continuation of the 1-week fall survey of lake sturgeon abundance near certain rivers in the Western U.P. continued from page 13 By KBIC Staff Lake sturgeon were once abundant in the Red River of the North watershed includingtheRedLakesandtributariesthroughthelate1800s.Bytheearly1900s lake sturgeon were nearly extirpated from the Red River Basin due to overharvest and loss of habitat. The construction of dams on the mainstem Red River many of the major tributaries and numerous lake outlets was the pri- mary causative factor. In 1931 a dam was constructed at the outlet of the Red Lakes on the Red Lake River to assist in flood protection of agricultural land adja- cent to the river downstream of the Red Lake Indian Reservation. This structure removed the connection between the lake and the river and cut off the spawning migrations of sturgeon up the river into the lake. The last verifiable sighting of stur- geonintheRedLakeswasinAprilof 1941intheMinnesotaDepartmentof NaturalResourcesMDNRwalleye spawning trap atWaskish of a single individualweighingover140pounds and measuring over 6 feet long. Cultural connections to nam Sturgeon were used by the Red Lake people prior to the coming of the west- ern settlers. Evidence of this has been found at numerous archeological sites on the reservation where sturgeon bones have been found along with tools made of these bones. Sturgeon likely migrated up the Red Lake River as part of their annual spawning migration into the Red Lakes and its tributaries to spawn in the spring and then descended into these rivers after spawning. At the same time there was likely a resident population of sturgeon that remained in the lakes year round. It is likely that tribal members harvested the majority of sturgeon during migration. These fish were used as food and trade goods with other tribes and settlers. All parts of the fish were used including dried meat for trade and the skin and oil for glue and paint. Red Lakes restoration begins In 2007 the Red Lake Band received its first of three Tribal Wildlife Grants to assist in restoring lake sturgeon to the Red Lakes and its tributaries. In the past eight years Red Lake has cooperatively stocked approximately 72000 six-inch lake sturgeon. The Red Lake Band purchases eggs annually from the Rainy River First Nation. The eggs are transported to and incubated by the Genoa National Fish Hatchery inWisconsin.The newly hatched sturgeon are raised throughout the summer months. In early fall the fingerlings are tagged for future identification and transported to the reservation for release in the Blackduck River. Red Lake has used the Blackduck River for a release site because there is a fairly deep estuary where the sturgeon can acclimate before entering Lower Red Lake. These efforts have the potential to reestablish lake sturgeon in the 285000 acresoftheRedLakes187milesoftributariesupstreamand70milesdownstream in the Red Lake River where they once existed. Restoration is a cooperative effort The Red Lake Band is not the only agency working on the restoration of sturgeon in the watershed. The MDNR the White Earth Band and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have been working on restoring this species in other parts of the watershed since 1997. These agencies have a common goal which is to restore a reproductively successful population of sturgeon to the Red River watershed. It is anticipated that it may take 20 to 30 years to achieve this goal because female sturgeon do not first spawn until 20 years of age and may live to be over 100 years. Stocking is only one part of this effort. Restoring fish passage by removing or modifying dams has been a major effort throughout the Red River Basin. In order to fully protect introduced lake sturgeon there is no open angling season for this species throughout the basin. By using a watershed-based approach to recover this species coupled with a public outreach program the likelihood of this effort being successful has increased. Signs of success Lake sturgeon were found throughout the reservation waters of Upper and Lower Red Lake by 2010 and have been caught by state anglers in 2013. Eight year classes are currently present and the largest sturgeon caught and released to datewas46inchesweighingjustover20poundsduringfallsurveynettingin2014. Currently both on and off the reservation sturgeon are fully protected and must be returned upon capture. However we would greatly appreciate pictures lengths and capture location of any captured sturgeon in the Red Lakes or tributar- ies to document range expansion and success of this effort. This information can be sent to Sturgeon return to Red Lake By Pat Brown Red Lake Fisheries Program Director Red Lake Fisheries Technician Herman Lussier stocks sturgeon in Lower Red Lake in 2008. Red Lake youth Teiasha Fairbanks far left and Jared Spears look on. photo by Pam May made their canoes they would use huge pieces of birch bark which was usually found on 200-300 hundred-year old trees however it is difficult to find birch bark trees that are that old and big today. The balsam fir tree was also highlighted. When the sap from a balsam fir tree is boiled in water and mixed with charcoal from a fire it will create a very sticky black material which the Ojibwe used to patch their canoes. The sap is also used to cure sinus infections by taking a heated rock out of the fire and putting the sap on the rock then inhaling the steam from the rock. Mark also explained that on long hikes a person can suck on the needles from balsam fir and this will give them energy. Also discussed were cattails and their use in cradleboards. Preserving the Power of Plants is funded through a grant to UW-Superior designed to both preserve wild plants and connect people with the knowledge about their uses. Currently Danielle Lake-Diver is the grant assistant and can be contacted for information about the program at 218-260-5675. Preserving the Power of Plants Continued from page 21 The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community continues monitoring the lake sturgeon population in Michigan waters of Lake Superior recording data on captured sturgeon. Data is shared with other fishery management agencies. photo submitted by KBIC Natural Resources Department PAGE 23 MAZINAIGANFALL 2015