Scaphirhynchus Conference: Alabama, Pallid, and Shovelnose Sturgeon

St. Louis, Missouri, 11-13 January 2005

51.  TELEMETRY OF SHOVELNOSE STURGEON IN THE YELLOWSTONE RIVER AND MISSOURI RIVER BELOW FORT PECK DAM: MOVEMENT PATTERNS, CONCENTRATION AREAS, AND DEAD ZONES.

David B. Fuller*, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Fort Peck, Montana, 59223; Phone 406-526-3253; 2mfwpfp@nemontel.net

Patrick J. Braaten, Columbia Environmental Research Center, Fort Peck Project Office, Fort Peck, Montana 59223; Phone 406-526-3253; Patrick_braaten@usgs.gov

Movements of adult shovelnose sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus) were quantified in the lower Yellowstone River and Missouri River downstream from Fort Peck Dam to examine spatial and temporal differences in movement patterns between rivers with different thermal and hydrological regimes.  The Missouri River is thermally and hydrologically impacted by operations of Fort Peck Dam; whereas, the Yellowstone River is characterized by relatively natural conditions.  Individuals were implanted with combination acoustic/radio transmitters.  The lower 115 river kilometers (rkm) of the Yellowstone River and the 354 rkm of the Missouri River between Fort Peck Dam and the headwaters of Lake Sakakawea were tracked at weekly intervals from April through July, and every other week from August through October during 2003 and 2004.  Densities (number of relocations/rkm) were similar in the Yellowstone River and in the 112 rkm of the Missouri River below Fort Peck Dam; however, densities declined in the lower 192 rkm of the Missouri River down to the confluence with the Yellowstone River. Range of activity averaged 225 rkm, but exceeded 640 rkm for the most wide-ranging individual.  Temporal movement patterns differed between the rivers as shovelnose sturgeon in the Missouri River exhibited minimal movements through the seasons; whereas, shovelnose sturgeon in the Yellowstone River demonstrated upstream movement in the spring and downstream movement during the fall.  Results from this on-going study suggest that differential movement patterns between rivers are influenced by differences in the hydrologic and thermal regimes.