On Tuesday, July 12 at 7:00 p.m. US Geological Survey biologist Emily Pherigo will take a look beneath the muddy water of the Missouri River at the discoveries that have been made about the life cycle, migration and spawning of the pallid sturgeon. The FREE presentation will be held in the lower level of the beautiful Les Bourgeois Bistro in Rocheport, MO, overlooking the Overton Bottom Unit of the Big Muddy National Fish & Wildlife Refuge.
Called “The Secret Life of Sturgeon”, the presentation is part of the “Big Muddy Speaker Series”, a monthly series of talks about the Missouri River hosted by a partnership of Missouri River Relief, Friends of Big Muddy, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Big Muddy National Fish & Wildlife Refuge and Les Bourgeois Vineyards.
The federally endangered pallid sturgeon has become a living symbol of the old, natural Missouri River struggling to survive in the new river we’ve created. This odd looking, prehistoric fish only lives in the Missouri River and the Mississippi River below St. Louis. It’s uniquely adapted to the intense environment of this turbid, sandy and free-flowing river.
Which all makes this fish extremely difficult to study. Emily Pherigo, biologist with the US Geological Survey River Studies Branch in Columbia, will run through some of the innovative methods USGS is using to reveal the habitat needs and life cycles of this rare and elusive fish. From Didson sonar video to telemetric tracking, USGS has been fleshing out the picture of what these fish need to successfully spawn, and what obstacles they run into on our modern Missouri River. In the process, she will give the audience a unique and surprising view of the bottom of the Big Muddy.