Title: Connecticut River Shortnose Sturgeon (CRSNS) Acipenser brevirostrum

Subtitle: Life history and effects of damming and river regulation 

*   Sturgeons are ancient fish thaat coexisted with dinosaurs 60+ million years ago. CRSNS have a complex life history (see published papers by Kynard et al.).The species is the only federally endangered fish in MA. CRSNS is the second smallest population of the species known. 

*    CRSNS was studied for 28 years by B. Kynard, his UMass students, and federal Conte Lab staff. 

*    Population is not "landlocked" upstream of Holyoke Dam, but instead, ranges from Turners Falls to the estuary in Connecticut.

*    The one population was segmented in 1849 by Holyoke Dam, so today, an estimated 325 adults are upstream of the dam and spawn at Montague, and 1500 adults are downstream of the dam, reproductive nulls because only a rare female spawns at Holyoke.

*    Even after 150+ years of damming, adults and Juveniles continue to migrate seasonally up- and downstream among the 3 river foraging-wintering reaches (Deerfield, MA, Agawam, MA, and Connecticut) until upstream migrations are blocked by Holyoke Dam.

*   The one historical spawning reach is at Montague, MA, in the bypass reach downstream from Turners Falls Dam (so only the 325 upstream segment adults have access to the historical spawning site (effective population size = 325).

*   A population of 300 adults has zero chance of long-term survival; The population segments must be reconnected by fish passage.

*   Holyoke Dam also kills adults and juveniles from the upstream segment that migrate downstream to Agawam or Connecticut.

*   CRSNS require upstream and downstream passage at Holyoke Dam, as specified in the federal relicensing of Hadley Falls Station at Holyoke Dam in 2004.

* Downstream passage facilities to solve the problems for downstream migrant CRSNS are finally being installed in 2015. 

 A 320 page, 12 chapter book reviewing 17 years of research on CRSNS was published in 2012 by the World Sturgeon Conservation Society in Germany. This book reviews CRSNS life history, including info used in the federal relicensing of hydroelectric stations at Holyoke Dam (early 2000s) and Turners Falls Dam (present day). The book is available for $65 from the WSCS (in the USA or Canada, contact, Boyd Kynard at bkriverfishllc@gmail.com. River regulation, Relicensing, and CRSNS are discussed further on page 2.


A Shortnose Sturgeon Stout beer was introduced by the People's Pint, Turners Falls, MA, on 16 March 2014 to support conservation of this species. Try it, it's great!