200 Million-Years, Living Fossils Still Lurking in the Columbia River in WA
This species of fish has survived in Tri-Cities for 200-million-years swimming in the Columbia River.
Sturgeon, specifically the white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) species are often referred to as prehistoric fish. They've been around for millions of years which makes them one of the oldest species living on Earth. Some sturgeon live to be 100 years or older.
How large can a white sturgeon grow?
In part because of their exceptional life history, sturgeon are carefully managed and harvests closely monitored in the Columbia River, with an annual limit of two fish when retention fishing is open, and a slot length limit to ensure adequate protection of adult, sexually mature white sturgeon.
White Sturgeon are known to travel long distances.
They are native to several large rivers that meet up with the Pacific Ocean. Some migrate to freshwater and travel long distances between river systems.
How have dams affected sturgeon in the Columbia River?
Construction of dams for hydroelectric power production affects seasonal movement of white sturgeon in many river systems, with the Columbia River Basin being a large contributor to shifts in the distribution and movement. The dams present in the basin have largely blocked the upstream movement of sturgeon, due to designs of fish ladders being more specified for salmon and steelhead. While downstream passage of sturgeon through the dams has been reported, the route of passage was never identified. Downstream movement through the dams are only possible through operating turbines, open spill gates and the ice and trash sluiceway