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Volunteers sought to protect sturgeon during spawning

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USFWS midwest
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Volunteers are being sought to protect the spawning run of lake sturgeon along the Black River in Cheboygan County.

Lake sturgeon became a state protected species in 1997 after their population in the Great Lakes dipped to 500 fish.

Since then a highly regulated fishing season and protected spawning run have helped the fish recover.

Brenda Archambo is with Sturgeon for Tomorrow, which coordinates volunteers along the river. She said for the past 19 years people have guarded the river from late April through early June.

“Each spring when the water temperature reaches about 55 degrees a small percentage of the adult sturgeon in Black Lake will migrate upstream to spawn. During that time they are quite vulnerable to poaching.”

Archambo said the group looks for hundreds of volunteers to guard six miles of river 24 hours a day.

“So what we do from late April to early June is we coordinate volunteer Sturgeon guards in shifts on the black river just to be present and lowkey to deter any kind of illegal activity.”

She says officials with the DNR and researchers with the University of Michigan will also be on the river through the spawning season.

For more information on how to volunteer visit https://www.sturgeonfortomorrow.org/guarding-program.php