Wednesday, November 11, 2009

One Spawning Ground Left: Rare Green Sturgeon to Get Needed Recovery Plan

SAN FRANCISCO - November 11 - The National Marine Fisheries Service announced that it will develop a recovery plan for threatened green sturgeon. The notice will appear in Thursday's Federal Register. A recovery plan is a legally mandated roadmap to how an endangered animal or plant species can be brought back from the brink and eventually be secure enough from the risk of extinction to be removed from the endangered species list.

Loss of suitable spawning habitat is a major threat to green sturgeon; the southern green sturgeon population only spawns in the Sacramento River system below Shasta Dam, making it especially susceptible to habitat destruction. In October, as the result of a settlement that arose from a Center for Biological Diversity lawsuit, the Service protected 8.6 million acres of critical habitat for the southern population of green sturgeon in California, Oregon, and Washington. Including river habitat, estuary, and coastal habitat, that includes the Sacramento River, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and coastal areas from Monterey Bay to Cape Flattery, Washington.

"Recovery planning and habitat protection are the keys to bringing this rare and majestic fish back from the brink of extinction," said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center. "Recent surveys have shown some of the lowest recorded numbers of spawning green sturgeon in the Sacramento River. With so few sturgeon left, recovery planning is essential to help green sturgeon regain some lost ground."

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