The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s recovery plan to recover the Alabama sturgeon is now available.
The Alabama Sturgeon was listed as endangered on May 5, 2000, due to over-fishing, and loss of habitat from navigation development and water quality degradation. The sturgeon is only found in the Mobile River Basin.
The Alabama Sturgeon is one of the rarest fish in the nation and may be close to extinction. Its historic range encompassed all major rivers in the Mobile Basin, below the Fall Line, including the Alabama, Tombigbee, and Cahaba River systems.
Recent collections are restricted to the lower Alabama River below R.F. Henry Lock and Dam to the confluence of the Tombigbee River and in the lower Cahaba River near its confluence with the Alabama River; however, records are extremely rare. The last capture of an Alabama Sturgeon was on April 3, 2007, by biologists with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
“Monitoring and protecting sturgeon habitat in the Alabama River and its tributaries are among the recommendations in the Alabama Sturgeon Recovery Plan, which will hopefully help bring the sturgeon back from the brink,” said Cindy Dohner, the Service’s Southeast Regional Director. “The conservation goals discussed in this recovery plan were developed in partnership with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, other state agencies, and universities.”
The recovery plan’s primary recovery objectives are to prevent extinction of the sturgeon by establishing a captive broodstock population and producing fingerlings for population augmentation in areas that continue to sustain the species, and improving habitat in the Alabama River through operational changes at Claiborne and Millers Ferry Lock and Dams.
The Alabama Sturgeon Recovery Plan provides a framework for the recovery of the sturgeon so that protection under the Endangered Species Act is no longer necessary. A recovery plan includes scientific information about the species and provides criteria and actions necessary for downlisting to threatened or removal from the Federal list of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Recovery plans also help guide the Service’s recovery efforts by describing actions necessary for the species’ conservation.
Recovery plans can be downloaded from FWS website: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/species/recovery-plans.html