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White Sturgeon spawning site characteristics in the Lower Fraser River|
Presenting Author Name|
Presenting Author Affiliation|
Triton Environmental Consultants|
Presenting Author Email|
Western Division/WA-BC Chapter|
Type of Presentation|
White Sturgeon are identified as an endangered species by COSEWIC, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, and red-listed in British Columbia. One of the major impacts to this species is habitat degradation, particularly to spawning habitat, which has reduced recruitment. As part of a monitoring program for the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources and Rural Development, we have been conducting semi-annual surveys of White Sturgeon spawning in the Lower Fraser River from 2010 to 2018. The Lower Fraser is unique in White Sturgeon rivers, due to its absence of dams or other anthropogenic flow regulation, offering a natural examination of spawning habitat selection. Favoured spawning habitat in the Lower Fraser is mostly limited to a handful of side-channels; research into these productive side-channels is limited. We have collected physical data on channel characteristics during successful spawning events and identified preference for spawning habitat of this population. We successfully test and eliminate a number of parameters to model the timing of spawning for White Sturgeon in the Lower Fraser. We show that water temperature emerged as the dominant predictor. Here we present the results from this spawning study which can assist stakeholders and managers to anticipate the requirements for successful recruitment in the Lower Fraser.