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Lake Sturgeon Population Characteristics, Movements and Habitat Use in Namakan Reservoir


April 2008 - April 2012


he lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) is a Minnesota state-listed species of special concern. In Canada, western populations of lake sturgeon are considered to be endangered and the Rainy River-Lake of the Woods populations to be of special concern. Since the late 1800s lake sturgeon populations have declined in the Laurentian Great Lakes. These declines have been attributed to loss or fragmentation of crucial spawning, nursery, and feeding habitats. A new threat to sturgeon has emerged in the Namakan Reservoir. A private company in Ontario in collaboration with the Lac La Croix First Nation is proposing to generate hydroelectric power on at least three sites on the Namakan River, the major spawning tributary for sturgeon in the Namakan Reservoir. Historic information and preliminary data from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) suggests that movements of spawning sturgeon would be affected. Preliminary data also suggest that sturgeon that spawn in the Namakan River move throughout the Namakan Reservoir and therefore are an internationally shared stock. To best mitigate the potential impacts of this hydropower development, information is needed about relative importance of spawning locations and the movements of sturgeon within and between different parts of the reservoir.

Research Products and Activities


  • Shaw, S., S. R. Chipps, D. W. Willis, S. Windels, D. McLeod. 2009. Seasonal distribution of adult lake sturgeon in Namakan Reservoir, Voyageurs National Park, MN. Annual Meeting, Minnesota-Wisconsin-Ontario Chapters, American Fisheries Society, Duluth, Minnesota.
  • Brezden, T. J., S. L. Shaw, S. R. Chipps, D. W. Willis, S. Windels, and D. McLeod. 2009. Growth and abundance of Lake Sturgeon in Voyageurs National Park. Annual Meeting, Dakota Chapter, American Fisheries Society, Bismarck, North Dakota.
  • Shaw, S., S. Chipps, D. Willis, S. Windels, and D. Mcleod. 2009. Seasonal distribution of adult lake sturgeon in Namakan Reservoir, Voyageurs National Park. Poster Presentation at the 139th Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society, Nashville, Tennessee.
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Current Staff

Federal Staff: 95

Masters Students: 240

Phd Students: 143

Post Docs: 52

University Staff: 245

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 702

Scientific Publications: 1948

Presentations: 4253



Funding Agencies

  • National Park Service


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey