Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biological Sciences (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Biological Sciences


Nancy Auer


The Menominee River is a Michigan-Wisconsin boundary water historically traversed by lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens), but now contains fragmented populations between hydroelectric dams. Though fish passage is currently being implemented on the lower dams, it is unclear whether sturgeon given access to historic spawning grounds would use them. In 2012 and 2013, a total of 15 pre-spawning sturgeon were captured, implanted with sonic transmitters and translocated upstream over two hydroelectric dams to the stretch below the historic spawning site of Sturgeon Falls. Sturgeon were then tracked via five stationary receivers from April 2012 until August 2013, and with a portable receiver April to September 2012 and May to August 2013. Abiotic habitat features, including water depths, temperatures, present substrate particle classes, dissolved oxygen, and light intensities near the river bottom, and biotic features including invertebrate sampling and vegetation mapping were also collected. Within 2 weeks of translocation, seven of the study sturgeon were detected near the historic spawning site, where sturgeon spawning behavior was observed both study years. Within 48 hours of translocation, the remaining 8 study sturgeon all migrated at least 10 rkm upstream, near two other potential spawning sites within the study area. Habitat measurements suggest that the study stretch contains suitable habitat for year-0, juvenile, and adult lake sturgeon. In-stream vegetation appeared to create a barrier to sturgeon movement in 2012, but did not in 2013 when observed vegetation was at half the coverage as the previous year. This study has found that if pre-spawning sturgeon from an impounded stretch of river are given access to historic upstream spawning habitat, they will migrate to this habitat. Sturgeon spawning activity near Sturgeon Falls Dam was observed in both study years.