Sturgeon General - Sturgeon For Tomorrow, Black Lake, Michigan Chapter Newsletter.
Summer 2003 ~ Official Publication of Sturgeon for Tomorrow ~ Volume 5, Issue 1

Page One

Partnership Ensures Continued Lake Sturgeon Research

Though the economy is weakened, a concerted effort to rehabilitate lake sturgeon in Cheboygan County's Black Lake remains strong.

Through a grant funded by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), Michigan State University (MSU) will continue their partnership with Sturgeon For Tomorrow (SFT) and the DNR Fisheries Division for much needed sturgeon research.

Patrick Forsythe, MSU doctorate student will continue the sturgeon research project on the Upper Black River. Welcome aboard Patrick!

The objectives of this study will be to:

  1. Develop models that relate the timing of spawning to environmental conditions.
  2. Build on demographic and genetic data collected in 2001-2003.
  3. Estimate fertilization rates of spawner numbers and sex ratios.
  4. Determine sources of egg and larvae predation.
  5. Determine factors that influence larval survival during downstream drift from spawning sites to rearing habitats.
  6. Develop a system for assessing juvenile survival and growth.

Sturgeon larval sampling in 2003.One hundred twenty-three sturgeon were tagged during the spring 2003 spawning run. There were 85 new fish (44 males and 41 females) and 38 repeat spawners (36 males and 2 females). Of the 36 repeat spawning males, 2 were tagged in the river in 2002. Therefore spawning periodicity of some of the adults in the system are more frequent than previously reported.

More than 15,000 larvae were collected during larval drift net studies. These naturally produced larvae have been transported to Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery near Kalamazoo for rearing. Plans are being made to return the 4 to 6 inch fall fingerlings in late September or early October.

Sturgeon fingerlings. Sturgeon fingerlings.

Depending on the level of survival of the fingerlings, discussions ensue regarding the feasibility of introducing a few of the Black Lake fingerlings into the Mullett and Burt Lake System.

From Our President

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the numerous people who gave of their time and talents to participate in a seemingly long field season. To all of our Sturgeon Guards, National Guardsmen, Vietnam Veterans, youth groups and Law Enforcement officials, thank you for making the Sturgeon Guarding Program one of the most effective grass-roots programs in the nation. Patrick Forsythe, Dr. Ed Baker, Dr. Kim Scribner, the Gaylord Fisheries Crew and all the SFT volunteers, thank you for your dedication and determination with research and tagging the adults. Thank you to Pat DeHaan and SFT volunteers with assisting Patrick Forsythe with larval sampling through wee hours of the morning, as well as Gary and Garret Graham for transporting thousands of larvae to Wolf Lake. To Gil Archambo and crew, thank you for the countless hours of setting up, monitoring and tearing down of the weir. Gil, also for your time and patience reviewing over 800 hours of video and logging migration and emigration data, and for providing everything for the temporary holding facility of the larvae.

I have often thought had our predecessors given thorough consideration of consequences to conservation measures, maybe we would not be in the predicament of managing a threatened species as we are today. Mother Nature has the infinite ability to tend her own. But when we fail to understand that everything is directly linked to everything else, we run a great risk of deciding the fate of all species. Don't get me wrong, I know we can not change our past. But as we progress forward let us do so with Divine wisdom and out of reverence for the biodiversity of nature regardless of human self-interests.

We must also recognize there are limits to science. Through the years I have met many researchers and scientists at conferences, symposia and in the field. Those scientists who impress me the most do not claim extreme knowledge so much as they proclaim how little they know. Facts do change. The truth does not. What might be scientifically in vogue at the time should not decide the destiny of a species. Let truth and nature prevail.

The lake sturgeons future will be greatly enhanced as we continue to work together on rehabilitation and recovery efforts. It is essential to exchange information and be studious so to not visit the mistakes of the past.

To continue to provide funding for our programs, we will be hosting the 4th Annual SFT Banquet set for September 20th. This is our major fundraiser so please make plans to attend. See you there.

Brenda ArchamboBrenda Archambo,
President, Sturgeon For Tomorrow
Black Lake, Michigan Chapter

Other News

Sturgeon Advisory Council (SAC) Organized to Address Management Issues

A Sturgeon Advisory Council (SAC) has been assembled to address lake sturgeon management issues throughout North East Michigan.

Members of the SAC were asked to identify and discuss lake sturgeon management issues and make recommendations to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) based upon community and user input. The SAC consists of representatives from the sturgeon public: fishing, hunting and conservation clubs, watershed councils, anglers, lake associations, DNR Fisheries and Law Enforcement Division, businesses and local government. Wil Cwikiel from the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council is the facilitator.

The following guidelines are adhered to by council members:

  • Be able to commit adequate time to help the SAC review and present comments on lake sturgeon recommendations;
  • Be able to find solutions and common ground during the review process;
  • Be able and enabled to speak directly for the group they are representing;
  • Be willing to propose and accept compromise;
  • Make honest and sincere efforts to attend all meetings as one's schedule permits, or find an alternate representative to take your place;
  • Be able to work well with those having different interests and ideas regarding lake sturgeon management issues;
  • Have a sense of humor and be cordial and respectful to one anothers views and interests during the process.

The SAC have identified issues that need to be addressed. A partial list in no specific order of prioritization has been broken down to the following categories: management, assessment, law enforcement and progressive public involvement.


  • Leadership / Commitment / Vision Develop / Implement Plan
  • Self Sustaining Lake Sturgeon Populations Propagation
  • Genetic Diversity
  • Water Quality
  • Dams/Fish Passage/Flow Regimes
  • Regulations: Harvest/ Mandatory Reporting
  • Funding


  • Standardize Data and Collection
  • Survey Strategies
  • Natural Reproduction / Imprinting
  • Recruitment
  • Habitat Classification / Inventory:
    • Habitat Restoration / Enhancement
    • Habitat Utilization/Life Stages
    • Lake/River Habitat Utilization

Law Enforcement

  • Regulations
  • Legal/Illegal Harvest
  • Conservation
  • Sturgeon Guarding Program

Progressive Public Involvement

  • Human Dimensions
  • Marketing/Awareness:
    • Rare and Valuable Resource
    • Sturgeon Tours
  • Public Relations/Education:
    • Workshops, presentations, print material, symposia
    • Leadership

Black Lake Chapter Expands to Include Inland Waterway / Cheboygan River Watershed

The watershed - long recognized by local residents and conservation groups for its natural resource values has been identified as a key aquatic biodiversity site of the Great Lakes Ecoregion.

In addition to large kettle lakes, large forested areas and an expansive network of streams and wetlands, this watershed is home to a variety of aquatic species including several that are threatened or endangered, the lake sturgeon, (Acipenser fulvescens), the Michigan money-flower (Mimulus glabratus var. michiganensis), and the Hungerford's crawling water beetle (Brychius hungerfordi). Several wetlands also provide important nesting habitat for rare birds such as the bald eagle (Haliaetus leucocephalus), the common loon (Gavia immer) and the black hern (Chlidonias niger).

During intensive planning conducted by many inter-organizational groups of experts, management and assessment issues have been identified on a watershed basis. The Plan is in the initial stages of development. Once completed the plan will be utilized as a tool for future goals and objectives to produce self sustaining lake sturgeon populations.

The Black Lake Chapter of SFT have expanded the Lake Sturgeon Management Plan to include lake sturgeon populations throughout the Inland Waterway/Cheboygan River Watershed. Black, Burt and Mullett Lake sturgeon populations will benefit from baseline assessment data, sampling gear and techniques proven effective over the past 3 years.

We are seeking input from our members to name the new SFT chapter.

The following are a few names submitted to date:

Straits Area - Inland Lakes - Northern Lakes - Northern Great Lakes - Black, Burt and Mullet - Tip of the Mitt

Please call, write or email us to submit your chapter name.


4th Annual SFT Banquet

Will be held Saturday, September 20th, 2003 (doors open at 5:30 p.m.) at the K of C Hall in Cheboygan, Michigan.

Proceeds to fund lake sturgeon research and education.

2003 SFT Banquet Tickets

Dinner/Banquet Ticket - Adult - $25.00
Dinner/Banquet Ticket - Youth - $15.00
Big Spenders Package $ 125.00
Sponsor Package - $200.00

200 General Raffle Tickets - $150.00
125 General Raffle Tickets - $100.00
50 General Raffle Tickets - $50.00
General Raffle Tickets - each $2.00

~ 2003 Banquet Sponsors ~

Rick Ackerberg & Kathy Bezotte
Scott & Beth Archambo
The Bluff's
Crooked Tree Joinery
Jim Gahn Construction
Dave Kujawa Builders
Todd & Donna Merchant
MSC Blinds & Shades
Norton & Associates
Glen & Tammy Read
Step Inn Restaurant
Craig Welke & Anne Marie Farrell

Archambo Electric, Inc.
AudioCraft Publishing, Inc.
Ken & Cathy Borowicz
Dave's Place
Gary Goodall, I & Gary Goodall, II
Mankin's Fresh Catch
Michigan Hydraulic Dredging, Inc.
Nick Posak
Parkside Country Store
Russell Builders
Straits Area Federal Credit Union
Bob & Jacki Williams

Gil & Brenda Archambo
Black Lake Sturgeon Shivaree
Leon & Margaret Campeau
James & Jeanie Deurwearder
H & D Power and Sport
McCall Construction
Charlie & Trish Moyer
Gerald & Wendy Neff
Parrott's Outpost
Paul Stevenson
Tom's IGA
Jay & Mary Kay Woiderski



A fall Board of Directors strategic planning workshop is being coordinated to review / revise each of the committee's purpose, goals and objectives. As we continue on our mission, we must also evaluate our progress and strategize short and long-term goals. We are seeking input from our members for future directives. Committees consist of the following: Membership, Finance / Fundraising, Public Relations / Education, Sturgeon Guarding Program, and Research. Please submit your ideas to any board member or contact us.

Lake Sturgeon