CHEBOYGAN COUNTY, MI – The Black Lake Chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow in Cheboygan County is seeking additional volunteers to join in its effort, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement and Fisheries Divisions, to help protect lake sturgeon from illegal harvest during the annual spawning run.
The late onset of spring weather slowed the start of the annual sturgeon spawning run in the Black River. Traditionally, the spawning runs begins around the end of April. However, due to cold temperatures and late snow melt, the sturgeon did not appear in the river until the second week of May. Therefore, the spawning run is expected to go on into mid-June. Volunteers are needed to fill guarding shifts now through June 10.
Every spring, mature lake sturgeon – a fish species that is threatened in Michigan and rare throughout the United States – become vulnerable to poaching as they briefly leave Black Lake for spawning sites upstream in the Black River. Volunteers are needed to stand guard along the Black River during the spawning season to report any suspicious activity and deter the unlawful take of this fish.
Individuals or groups interested in volunteering should contact Mark and Ann Feldhauser at 906-346-9511. Volunteers can also register online at www.sturgeonfortomorrow.org/guarding-program.php or web search Sturgeon for Tomorrow, Black Lake Chapter.
Volunteers are encouraged to camp along the banks of the Black River. There is no charge for camping on the state land adjacent to the Black River.
Lake sturgeon rehabilitation in the Cheboygan River watershed is a cooperative effort involving the Black Lake Chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow, the Michigan DNR, Michigan State University and the Tower-Kleber Limited Partnership.
In addition to the guarding program, this effort includes activities such as tagging adult sturgeon and raising young fish for stocking in Black, Burt and Mullet Lakes.