Volunteer sturgeon patrol safeguarding Black River|
Over the next several weeks, the Michigan Department of
Natural Resources again will be joining forces with local
citizens in Cheboygan County to protect spawning lake
sturgeon in the Upper Black River.
"When lake sturgeon come to spawn in the shallow upstream
riffles of the river, they are very vulnerable to poachers,"
said Sgt. Greg Drogowski, Area Law Supervisor. "With the
help of these 'Sturgeon Guarding Program' volunteers, we
will be able to monitor key areas 24 hours a day."
In addition, the portion of the upper Black River from
Kleber Dam to Red Bridge Road is closed to all fishing
during April and May to protect the spawning sturgeon.
The lake sturgeon, the largest and oldest fish to live in
the Great Lakes, is a unique late-maturing, slow-growing
fish that can live 50-60 years and weigh more than 200
pounds. Male lake sturgeon reach sexual readiness at 15-20
years of age, and then spawn only every other year. Once
females mature at about 20-25 years of age, they spawn on
average every four years. These characteristics have
prevented the recovery of the lake sturgeon, which has been
designated as a threatened species.
When sturgeon are in the river to spawn, local citizens,
volunteers from the Michigan National Guard and members of
the local chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow will stand watch
and use cellular phones, provided by Cellular One of
Cheboygan, to report suspicious activity to the DNR Report
All Poaching hotline. The information will be forwarded to
conservation officers on patrol in the area.
A reward of up to $1,000 has been offered by Sturgeon for
Tomorrow and the RAP program for information leading to the
arrest and conviction of any person or persons illegally
taking lake sturgeon.
For more information on the volunteer sturgeon guarding
program, contact Brenda Archambo, Sturgeon for Tomorrow, at