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White Sturgeon Conservation Program

White sturgeon, commonly known as Pacific sturgeon, Oregon sturgeon or Columbia sturgeon, is a primitive bottom-dwelling fish.

Sturgeon are the largest freshwater fish in North America and can weigh as much as 1,500 pounds and reach lengths of more than 12 feet.

Over the past century, the effects of overharvest and habitat alteration through river regulation have significantly reduced population numbers throughout the range of white sturgeon.

Today, many populations are land-locked because of the presence of dams. Dams have negatively impacted sturgeon by altering large river habitats and creating migration barriers, often blocking access to critical habitats such as spawning areas.

In the Snake River, dam construction also has fragmented what was once a contiguous large population of white sturgeon into several smaller populations between dams resulting in isolated sections of river without all of the necessary habitats to support a reproducing population.

In Idaho, the two largest reproducing populations of white sturgeon are below Bliss and Hells Canyon dams. Only small numbers of fish exist in the remaining reaches.

Protecting White Sturgeon

To protect the white sturgeon, Idaho Power developed a conservation program focusing on monitoring the health of Snake River white sturgeon populations from Shoshone Falls downstream to the Hells Canyon reach of the Snake River.

White Sturgeon Conservation Plan

Technical Reports

This plan allows us to share information with fish management agencies and cooperatively identify measures to improve or maintain populations of this great fish.

Sturgeon Survey