Juvenile Gulf Sturgeon―Gulf-wide Population Dynamics and Habitat Use
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; US Department of the Interior
DWH Project Funding
Known Leveraged Funding
Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees (NRDA)
Natural Resource Damage Assessment NRDA
Monitoring and Observations
This Monitoring and Adaptive Management Activity Implementation Plan (MAIP) will support evaluation of regional restoration outcomes for Gulf Sturgeon within the Open Ocean Trustee Implementation Group Restoration Area; perform data aggregation and data management; resolve critical information gaps and uncertainties for restoration planning and informing restoration decision-making; and perform monitoring to inform the design and implementation of future restoration projects. Juvenile Gulf Sturgeon habitat use and preference in estuaries in the Northern Gulf of Mexico will be studied to better understand baseline status and conditions, identify and prioritize habitats most in need of restoration, and a provide a framework for monitoring the results of restoration in an adaptive management context. Estuaries serve as important foraging habitat for juvenile Gulf Sturgeon in winter, yet a paucity of data exists about the patterns of habitat use within the estuary, or the preference for other habitats (i.e., oyster reefs, seagrass beds, or mud flats). This information is critical for determining effective strategies for estuarine restoration to benefit Gulf Sturgeon. This activity will involve a three-year assessment of the estuarine habitat use patterns by juvenile Gulf Sturgeon, and trends in juvenile sturgeon recruitment, growth, survival, genetics and kinship across the following river systems currently occupied by juvenile Gulf Sturgeon: (1) Pearl, (2) Pascagoula, (3) Escambia, (4) Yellow, (5) Choctawhatchee, (6) Apalachicola, and (7) Suwannee.