The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has been awarded more than $700,000 in federal funding to study and monitor the endangered Atlantic sturgeon. The money will be used over three years to continue the department’s tagging and tracking of fall spawning Atlantic sturgeon in the Nanticoke River and Marshyhope Creek.
Until recently, Maryland’s Atlantic sturgeon population was believed to have been decimated. In 2014, biologists discovered a fall spawning adult sturgeon population in the Nanticoke River, making an appearance for the first time in 40 years.
The federal grant, provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will help assist scientists in Maryland and Delaware to capture Atlantic sturgeon, collect DNA samples, and implant acoustic transmitters to help track their staging, spawning, and migration patterns.
Later this year, Maryland and Delaware will conduct a trawl survey for juveniles to confirm successful reproduction in the Nanticoke River and Marshyhope Creek to hopefully characterize nursery habitat.
“Our continued work is essential to understand and support the continued restoration of this species in Maryland’s waters,” Anadromous Restoration Project Leader Charles “Chuck” Stence said.
Atlantic sturgeon is considered a prehistoric fish, and is currently protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.