CASTLEGAR - Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks fisheries biologists are investigating following the discovery of four dead sturgeon in the Columbia River near Castlegar.
The adult fish were found on July 28 and 29, 1999, immediately downstream of Hugh Keenleyside Dam. Biologists are examining the sturgeon to determine the cause of death.
Sturgeon occur upstream of Hugh Keenleyside Dam in the Arrow Reservoir, as well as in the Columbia River downstream of the dam. White sturgeon in the upper Columbia watershed have been classified as red listed or ^critically imperiled^ by the British Columbia Conservation Data Centre. This classification has been applied because research over the last eight years on the Columbia River downstream of the Keenleyside Dam has shown that very few fish have been produced following construction of the dam in 1969.
As part of ongoing studies to learn more about the endangered white sturgeon, biologists monitor sturgeon in the Columbia and Kootenay River systems. Reports of more than one dead sturgeon at a time are rare. Biologists examined three dead sturgeon found on the Columbia at individual times in 1998, and carcasses have been discovered occasionally on the Kootenay River near Nelson.
The public is asked to assist in the investigation by reporting any dead sturgeon to ministry fisheries staff by calling 354-6333.