2011 Guarding Program

Volunteer for the Guarding Program.

Volunteers Sought For
Annual Sturgeon Guarding Program

Cheboygan - Each Spring, hundreds of volunteers guard sturgeon at their spawning sites on the Black River to protect the fish from poaching. This rich tradition in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement staff and the public is directed and funded by Sturgeon For Tomorrow, a local sturgeon conservation organization.

When sturgeon spawn along the rocky shorelines of Cheboygan County’s Black River they pay little attention to people and are very susceptible to illegal harvest. To protect them, "Sturgeon Guard" volunteers maintain a presence at the spawning sites throughout the spawning season, which usually begins in late April and lasts through the month of May.

When spawning begins, sturgeon guards are assigned to sites along the river in shifts. Prior to assignment, guards register with Sturgeon Guard Coordinator then check in at "Base Camp" on the river, where they are issued an identification hat (that they keep), a rules of engagement binder, and directed to their site. Groups are welcome, and camping is encouraged.

Fisheries researchers from the Michigan DNR, Michigan State University and other collaborators are also on the river collecting biological data on the adults to better understand reproductive ecology and early life history of lake sturgeon.

If you would like to help to save the sturgeon, please contact Sturgeon Guard Coordinator, Ann Feldhauser at 906-201-2484 or register online.

While it is impossible to predict the exact dates that spawning will occur each year, guards are routinely scheduled somewhere within a window from April 25 through May 30. Several spawning events generally occur for five to seven day periods. Schedulers do their best to get all scheduled guards out on the riverbank to see this majestic fish.


Ann Feldhauser 906-201-2484

~ Previous Guarding Programs ~