Sturgeon General - Sturgeon For Tomorrow, Black Lake, Michigan Chapter Newsletter.
Winter 2008 ~ Official Publication of Sturgeon for Tomorrow ~ Volume 10, Issue 1

Research Page

Streamside Rearing Facility Moving to Kleber Dam Site in 2008


eBay Giving Works

In 1994, the DNR entered into a settlement agreement with the Tower-Kleber hydro-project owners through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) licensing process. Among many things, this agreement contained a clause that stated, “…if a rearing facility is necessary for the sturgeon propagation activities of the MDNR, the utility will work with MDNR in constructing the rearing facility.

Sturgeon Rearing FacilitySince that time, the MDNR Fisheries Division has invested more than $2 million in research and monitoring to investigate the appropriate ways to go about sturgeon rehabilitation. Over the past couple of years after careful review of the current scientific information, Fisheries Division realized the time was right to develop this sturgeon rearing facility to rehabilitate sturgeon in the Black River system, starting with Black Lake. We have learned much from ongoing research about streamside rearing and are ready to move beyond a research-only phase and into a rehabilitation phase for lake sturgeon.

We are pleased to announce that the resource agencies, MDNR, MDEQ, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service along with the Tower Kleber Limited Partnership have an agreement in principle for this facility and that the Tower-Kleber Limited Partnership will be investing in the building of this facility in the coming year.

The formal FERC process will require filing of the appropriate paperwork and plans in November or December 2007. FERC will then need time to review the specific plans and provide comments back to the agencies and Tower- Kleber Limited Partnership for a finalized agreement for signing.

The primary purpose of the facility will be to raise young sturgeon for the purposes of rehabilitation. The facility will consist of two buildings, one for incubation and rearing of the juvenile sturgeon and one for outdoor rearing to stocking size. The outdoor facility will be the facility that was previously located downstream. Unlike other fish, sturgeon require a lot of “floor” space and thus we need a larger area to raise these fish compared to other fish.

The production target will be about 3,300 young sturgeon per year. This annual number is based on a projected number of 65,000 fish stocked over 20 years to achieve a desired level of 2,000 adult sturgeon in Black Lake. This produces a density similar to that of Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin.

In addition to the rehabilitation program, the facility will provide a platform for continued research to help us better understand the limitations to sturgeon production and survival and to help us continue improving our management and rehabilitation programs for sturgeon statewide.

Timeline: the facility should be up and running by fall 2008, and ready to receive the first round of youngsters in spring 2009.

The agreement for the facility will be in place through the life of the current license which expires in 2024.

The above information was submitted by Tammy Newcomb, Ph.D., Lake Huron Basin Coordinator, Michigan DNR Fisheries Division.

SFT anticipates providing outreach, education, perhaps in the form of an interpretive center, and any and all other means necessary and proper to assure management of this facility produces the sustainability in the resource. We would also like the thank Gil and Brenda Archambo for the use of their river property that supported the past three years of rearing.

2007 Black Lake Sturgeon Population Estimate Shows Increase

Eight Known Mortalities During Tagging

Every five years the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conducts a lake survey (or population estimate) of the lake sturgeon in Black Lake to monitor the status of the population. Beginning July 9 and conducted for 7 days, a total of 194 sturgeon were netted.

According to Ed Baker, DNR Fisheries Research Biologist from Marquette, the 2007 population estimate of sturgeon 50” and larger is 511, an increase from the 2002 estimate which was estimated to be 291.

“The overall fish estimate was higher, and we're seeing a lot more of the younger fish, said Dave Borgeson, Northern Lake Huron Management Supervisor in Gaylord.

Sturgeon For Tomorrow President Brenda Archambo said that while she is very appreciative of the on-going efforts of the Department in conducting these estimates, the fact is there have been well over 600 adult sturgeon tagged since 2000.

Shockingly, eight sturgeon died during the gill net survey that was conducted.

According to Borgeson, some of the fish were found dead in the nets while others floated onto nearby beaches. He said most of the fatalities occurred on the first day of the survey.

“Everyone was sick about it…it was quite a blow to everybody”, Borgeson said.

Borgeson said it may have been a combination of the number of fish in the net, hot weather and not getting the fish out to the net quickly enough. He said survey protocol was immediately adjusted and almost all fatalities were limited to the first day of the survey.

“Some of the fish were not doing well (when they checked the net) and they tried to revive them. Some were already dead. Some that were tagged died as well. When sturgeon are netted, they are quickly measured and tagged. Genetic samples are also collected before they are released.”

According to Borgeson, there have not been fatalities in the past surveys. During this year's survey, six large mesh gill nets were set in different areas of the lake in the morning, and then continuously checked throughout the day. The nets were pulled out of the water every evening. The Board of Directors of Sturgeon For Tomorrow (SFT) and the DNR Fisheries Division agreed the mortalities were unacceptable.

An agreement was made between SFT and the DNR to mitigate damages in the amount of $15,000.00. The funds will be allocated to Huron Pines RC&D to meet the 1:1 match requirement for bank stabilization and sturgeon spawning habitat conservation on the Upper Black River.

Protecting Sturgeon Spawning Habitat

Huron Pines Secures Grant, Seeking Matching Funds

Protecting Sturgeon Spawning HabitatA series of three erosion sites on the banks of the Upper Black River, just upstream from Black Lake, are threatening the ecological integrity of this stretch of high-quality, cold water habitat. In addition to the ecological degradation associated with an increase in sediment input to streams, these sites are of particular interest in that this stretch of the Black River is known spawning habitat of the state-threatened lake sturgeon. Preventing the further erosion of these sites and resultant input of sediment to the stream will help protect and restore the sensitive spawning habitat of lake sturgeon.

The three erosion sites affecting the sturgeon spawning habitat were identified in the Black Lake Watershed Stewardship Management Plan, approved by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) in 2001. The position of the sites in relation to the river and direction of flow, the presence of heavy foot traffic from the general public, and gullying associated with stormwater runoff were all cited as the sources of the erosion. In the Black Lake Watershed Management Plan these sites were listed as “severe” erosion sites and it was noted that they are contributing to the sediment load, the Black River's number one pollutant.

To successfully protect these sites from continued deterioration and preserve the integrity of neighboring spawning grounds of the lake sturgeon there are three tasks that must be implemented:


  • Stabilize the shoreline and prevent further erosion and sedimentation using bioengineering techniques. This project will focus on using Large Woody Debris (LWD), coconut fiber logs, terracing, and live plantings to minimize further erosion.
  • Manage the source causing the increased erosion of the streambanks: human traffic viewing the sturgeon and accessing the river.
  • Provide educational/interpretive materials to the general public to teach about the environmental damage caused by unrestricted access to the site and the importance of using the designated path or viewing area. This is also a great opportunity to educate users about the watershed and its management, non-point source pollution, and habitat for endangered species.

Current Status and Future Activities:

Project partners, including Sturgeon For Tomorrow, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and Huron Pines are working diligently to raise matching funds. Current funding for the project stands at $38,000, provided through a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

For more information on this project, please contact: Patrick Ertel, Project Manager, Huron Pines, (989) 348-9319 ext. 19.

2007 Black Lake Sturgeon Research Summary

By: James Crossman, Michigan State University

Sturgeon ResearchWe had a tremendous year this year despite it being a large transitional year for our research project. The spring began in the typical fashion with the fish were ready to spawn before we were completely ready for them to. Nonetheless we had another fantastic year monitoring adult spawning activity in the Upper Black River.

We caught our first fish on April 23rd and our last one June 1st. June is the latest we have ever captured an adult on the spawning grounds. We captured a total of 208 fish this year, the second largest in the past seven years. You would guess that after seven years of tagging a large proportion of the spawning adult population that we would be getting close to having mostly fish returning to spawn that we had handled in previous years. This was not the case as we had 88 brand new fish on the spawning grounds this year ranging from small males to large females. We captured the longest fish ever in our seven years of tagging this year. She measured in at 6 feet 6 inches total length. To date we have tagged a total of 614 unique individuals spawning in the Upper Black. Of the 208 fish captured and tagged this year, 145 were males and 63 were females. One very encouraging result was that 45 of the 63 females captured were new and untagged.

Sturgeon ResearchDespite the large number of fish spawning in the early spring, larval drift sampling turned out to be one of our lowest years in terms of total capture. A very large rain event that increased water levels in the Upper Black River and persisted for about 10 days likely had detrimental effects on both egg and larval survival. A total of 1,426 larval fish were captured and brought back to the streamside rearing facility to grow for the summer months. This was the last summer for the streamside hatchery at its current location on the mouth of the Upper Black. It was a wonderful three years at our spot on Crist Isle Drive and we thank all the people who gave us so much support and encouragement.

Sturgeon ResearchWe stocked a total of 1000 fish into Black Lake in mid-August. The fish were released right on the hatchery grounds and we had a great turnout of both kids and adults who had an interest in helping to let the fish go. Both visual and snorkeling reports from local residents indicate that the juvenile sturgeon were doing well and slowly moving out of the river system. Once the fish were gone we had the pleasant task of dismantling and storing the building, along with all the tanks and piping, that once made up the streamside hatchery. It was a bittersweet end to a very productive research project the past three years.

In conclusion I would like to personally thank all the individuals that made our research at the streamside river possible over the past three years. Even more important are the wonderful friendships that were developed over my time on Black Lake. The area will always hold a special place in my heart no matter where life takes me. Take care and see you on the lake.

From Our President…

Winston Churchill once quoted, “You make a living by what you get, you make a life by what you give.” I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of you who have given your time, talents and resources into making SFT one of the finest non-profit organizations in the country.

We, the people…saw a need and are doing something about it. Your display of courage to step outside of your own lives in the face of need to establish this organization because it was the right thing to do is truly remarkable. We all know time is a precious commodity. Thank you for your generosity of spirit and volunteerism to which I trust you find great joy knowing your dedication is truly making a difference.

As stewards of our natural resources we continue to build social capital through outreach and mobilization of key stakeholders. Placed based education and understanding the value of young people have also positioned our programs to make a profound impact on the sustainability of lake sturgeon.

Brenda ArchamboAs you read the following pages, I hope you share my enthusiasm for the progress we have made together. And, I hope you will continue your support through renewing your membership and contributions. Together, we are making a difference! In the spirit of the Holiday Season, here's wishing you and yours a warm and festive holiday, and a new year filled with personal growth, good health, happiness, peace and prosperity.

And remember, aim higher than excellence in your endeavors--go for distinction!

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

Worthy to Note…, & MissionFish


eBay Giving Works

What if Sturgeon For Tomorrow earned money every time you searched the Internet?

Well, now we can! is a new search engine that donates half its revenue, about a penny per search, to the charities its users designate. You use it just as you would any search engine, and it's powered by Yahoo!, so you get great results. Just 500 of us searching four times a day will raise about $7300 in a year without anyone spending a dime! is a new online shopping mall which donates a percentage of each purchase to your favorite cause. More than 100 great stores including The Gap, Best Buy and Barnes and Nobel have teamed up with GoodSearch and every time you place an order, you'll be supporting your favorite cause. Just go to and and be sure to enter Sturgeon For Tomorrow as the charity you want to support. And, be sure to spread the word!

eBay, the online auction company, now allows customers to assign all or part of their online proceeds to SFT. It's really quite simple. If you are a regular buyer or a seller on eBay and already have an eBay user name and password, you'll want to take just a minute to register with eBay Giving Works powered by MissionFish. Log on to Once registered with MissionFish, you can search for items currently on auction that are scheduled to benefit SFT and bid on these items yourself.

You can also list items to sell designating SFT to receive anywhere from 10% to 100% of the proceeds from each item auctioned.

When you make a gift of this type or any other to SFT, you will promptly receive a thank you acknowledgement letter with the charitable amount of your gift to use for tax purposes.

Area High School Graduates Presented SFT Scholarship

Courtney Johnson, Catherine Kabat & Justin Stockwell.

The SFT Fisheries, Wildlife or Natural Resources Scholarships were established to promote the mission of Sturgeon For Tomorrow, “to assist fisheries managers in the rehabilitation of lake sturgeon”. Scholarships were designed to provide
tangible encouragement and public recognition for academic achievement or community service to a student with a course of study in the field of Fisheries, Wildlife or Natural Resources conservation. The goal of these scholarships is to further the objectives of SFT by rewarding and promoting the education and development of future fisheries professionals.

In the Spring of 2007, SFT presented three, $500.00 scholarships to area High School Graduates. Courtney Johnson from Cheboygan Area High School, Catherine Kabat from Inland Lakes High School, and Justin Stockwell from Onaway High School.

Congratulations and best of luck graduates!

CMU and SFT Produce DVD Documentary

Get Yours Today!

Saving the SturgeonThe program, “Saving the Sturgeon”, now on DVD features WCMU's Kurt Wilson and Chris Ogozaly wading the waters of the Upper Black River with Sturgeon for Tomorrow and Michigan State University researchers in their quest to Save the Sturgeon.

This 30 minute DVD documentary is now available for only $25.00.

Call 231-420-1237 to order your DVD today.

Sondra Shephard Named Sturgeon Guarding Program Volunteer CoordinatorSondra Shephard

Sondra Shephard of Black Lake graciously volunteered for coordinating volunteers for SFT's Sturgeon Guarding Program (SGP). “Sondra is friendly, outgoing, dependable, responsible, and organized”, said Brenda Archambo. “Sondra has does a fantastic job of recruiting, scheduling and training sturgeon guards to stand watch over the spawning sturgeon”, Archambo said. Look for Sondra on the river in 2008. THANK YOU SONDRA!


Please renew your membership today. Enclosed is a membership renewal envelope. Your memberships and contributions support our conservation, research, hatchery, habitat and outreach programs.

Meetings & Events


Board of Director's Meeting's are held every 3rd Thursday of the month (except December) beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the Black Lake Sportsman's Club. All members and potential members are encouraged and welcome to attend.


  • Happy New Year! Annual Membership Renewals
  • Register For Spearing Season Lottery
  • SFT Strategic Planning Session


  • Black Lake Sturgeon Season
  • Sturgeon Advisory Council


  • Sturgeon Guarding Program Coordination Meeting


  • Sturgeon Guarding Program Sign Up


  • Sturgeon Guarding Program
  • Tours and Field Trips
  • Bank Stabilization Projects


  • Annual Membership Meeting
  • Bank Stabilization Projects


  • Celebrate our Independence—Happy 4th of July


  • Order Banquet Tickets, assist with organizing banquet

Sept 13:

  • Ninth Annual Banquet


  • TBA

8th Annual Sturgeon For Tomorrow Banquet

2007 BanquetPlease join us in thanking our sponsors, big spenders,
contributors, and guests who have given generously to support our 8th Annual Banquet. Our success is most certainly, your success. THANK YOU!

9th Annual SFT Banquet is Saturday, September 13, 2008.



Rick Ackerberg/Kathy Bezotte
Archambo Electric, Inc.
Gil/Brenda Archambo
Leon/Margaret Campeau
Coffman Hardware
James/Jean Deurwearder
Jerry/Michelle Durst
Anne Marie Farrell
Jim/Judy Gahn
Bob/Beth Garner
Hammond Bay Area Anglers Assn
Richard/Bette Hopkins
Mankin's Fresh Catch
Todd/Donna Merchant
Merle's Lock and Trophy Shop
Michigan Hydraulic Dredging, Inc.

Charlie/Trish Moyer
Gerald/Wendy Neff
Stan/Mary Neff
James/Nancy Norton
Dr. Jeffery R. Patt
Joe and Tammy Pawlowski
Joseph Server
David/Linda Steenstra
Straits Area Federal Credit Union
Dan/Karen Stroup
Tom's Family Market
United Design Associates, Inc.
Jim Wehr Mackinaw Outfitters
Bob/Jackie Williams
Jay/Mary Woiderski


Scott/Beth Archambo
Roy Berry
David Borowicz
Dan Brown
Jodi Buchanan
Gary Goodall
Darwin Gwin/Nancy Shaffer
Marley Johnson
Randy Lee

Diane Libby
Dock/Gail McCall
Fred Moulder, III/Linda Green
Lee/Patricia Muchmore
Mike/Phyllis Gordon
Jay Robarge
Carla Skuse
Alan Thompson
Doug/Ellie Wilson


ABC Rustics
Rick Ackerberg/Kathy Bezotte
Advance Auto
Senator Jason Allen
Ben, Patty and RJ Archambo
Gil/Brenda Archambo
John/Barb Archambo
Scott/Beth Archambo
Matthew and Michael Archambo
The Ark Bookstore
The Artful Hand
Big Bear Adventures
Billies Fashions
Black Lake Association
Black Lake Sportsman's Club
Black Lake UAW Golf Club
Blaskowski ‘s Feed and Seed
Bob/Mary Bonner
Carnation Restaurant
Carquest Auto Parts-Cheboygan
Carquest Auto Parts-Onaway
Cheboygan Dairy Queen
Cheboygan Lumber Company
Curves of Indian River
Billy/Dona Crist
James Crossman
Curves of Indian River
Cutting Edge Salon/Christy Hinkley
Dar's Hallmark
The Dirty Duck
Duck's Landing
Ellenberger Lumber
Frank's Party Store
Bob Garner
Glen's Market—Cheboygan
Rick Herring
Holiday Inn Express Indian River
Holiday Station-Cheboygan
Hostettler's Office Supply
Huron Distributors
Jesse Hyde
Indian River Do-It Center
It's About You Hair & Tanning
Johnson's Studio and Camera Shop
Keith's Hunting, Camping & Fishing Surplus
Lake View Salon
Linde Furniture
Log Mark Bookstore
Lorenzo's Lounge
Kathy McCall
Mackinaw Clothing
Marshall's Fudge
Mary Kay Cosmetics-Jaki Tallman
Merle's Lock and Trophy Shop
Mickey's Mini Mart
Michigan Hydraulic Dredging, Inc.
Capt Chris Mills -Betsie Bay Marine
Modern Pharmacy
Moran Iron Works
Mary Mull
Mullett Lake County Club
Nate's Place Café'
New Creation Hair Design
Odawa Casino Resort
Pat & Gary's/The Bow Hole
Pizza Hut—Cheboygan
Ken Pletcher
Putnum Hitch Products
Radio Shack-Electronics Plus
Rivertown Spas, Pools & Billiards
Scalawags Whitefish & Chips
Schell Auto Center
Shanty Boy Gifts & Framing
Sondra Shephard
Elda Shull
Bryan Sides
Spies Auto
Splash and Dash Car Wash
State Street Coffee Company
Straits Area Federal Credit Union
Sun Shop Tanning Center
Top of the Greeks
Tri Rivers Collision
UAW Family Education Center
Viau's Clothing
Frank Wheatlake
Doug/Ellie Wilson
Jason/Stacy Woiderski
Jay/Mary Kay Woiderksi


2008 Black Lake Sturgeon Season

The Black Lake Sturgeon Spearing Season opens February 2, 2008 and runs through February 10, 2008 or until the total harvest of five fish has been reached, whichever comes first. Twenty-five tags will be issued on a daily basis to successful applicants, until maximum harvest level is reached.

Applicants for tags will be registered during business hours January 7-11, 2008. This pool of applicants will be used for the entire Black Lake sturgeon spearing season.

Persons registering for the lottery drawing may call the Department of Natural Resources Gaylord Operations Center at 989-732-3541. All applicants 17 years of age and older must hold a valid Michigan fishing license.

There will be a drawing on Saturday, January 12 at the Chateau North located at 10621 Twin Lakes Road, Cheboygan, see This drawing will be held starting at 7:00 p.m. to select those 225 anglers (twenty-five anglers daily for 9 days) to fish from February 2 through February 10. Successful anglers in the lottery drawing may fish between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on the day they are eligible to fish. A 36-inch minimum size limit will apply.

Successful applicants will receive a tag and marking flags, both issued in their name. These must be picked up before 10 a.m. and returned to the Department of Natural Resources M-211 Field Station by 6:00 p.m. daily.

The marking flags must be located at opposite corners of the successful applicant's fishing shanty, and must be visible from any direction.

All fish harvested must be registered immediately with the Department of Natural Resources at the M-211 DNR Onaway Field Station.

Unclaimed tags will be made available to registered anglers present at the registration station by means of a secondary drawing to begin at 10:00 a.m. Tags are not transferable, and anglers must present proper identification when picking up tags.


  • January 7—11, 2008 Registration -Call: 989-732-3541
  • January 12 Lottery Drawing: Chateau North- 7pm
  • February 2—10, 2008 Sturgeon Spearing Season
  • Registration Station - M-211 Onaway Field Station

2007 Black Lake Sturgeon Season Summary

The 2007 Black Lake sturgeon harvest season ended on February 11th with a total of 4 fish harvested.

According Tim Cwalinski, Fisheries Biologist with the MDNR, roughly 215 anglers participated in the 2007 fishing event, not including friends or family members who went along for the experience. There was much uncertainty over ice conditions in 2007, but ice conditions strengthened just enough prior to season to allow the event to occur.

Two large lake sturgeon were harvested the first day, including a fish just under 70 inches in length and one that was 63 inches long. Weight for these fish were 71 and 69 pounds, respectively. The third sturgeon was harvested on the fifth day of the season and was 51 inches long and weighed 38 pounds. The fourth and final fish was harvested on the sixth day and was 63 inches long and weighed 59 pounds. Three of the four harvested fish were tagged in previous years for research and management purposes.


Sturgeon For Tomorrow accepts contributions as well as memorials and honorariums for special occasions including birthdays, anniversary's, and special tributes. A special thank you to the following donors for their generous gifts. THANK YOU!

In Memory of Leo Jacobsen - Kristin Choo

In Memory of Clifford Shephard - Sondra Shephard, Kristine Latimer & Larry Vermeersch

In Memory of Paul Watt - Schell's Resort On Black Lake

In Memory of John Trip - Schell's Resort On Black Lake

In Lieu of wedding party favors - Kregg and Liz Smith

Milus Allison
Chris Baker
Phillip and Kendra Blum
Paul Breed
William S. Brown
Howard B. Camden
Citizens National Bank
Todd and Diane Crawford
Gordon Edmondson
John Engel
Mark and Sue Fielder
Gray and Carol Fischer
Robert C. Gieleghem
Gary R. and Donna K. Goodall Sr.
Richard D. Goodell
Bob and Wendy Goodenow
James and Linda Gregart
Darst and Peg Grund
Mike and Karen Hannon
Gerald and Janet Hebert
Fayne M. and Deborah Hodgman
Dan and Yvette Hudok
Fred Hynick
Virginia Pierce and Don Inman
Patrick Janks
Christopher and Joni Kallgren
Jim and Mary Knight
Patricia Kozal
Tom and Nancy Lamb
Kevin Lee
Alex Mackay
Ronald J. Maka
Bruce Manny
George and Louise McNelly
Dennis Mikus / Coffman Hardware
Bob and Ann Minock
Lee and Patricia Muchmore
Dan and Wendy Nieland
Floyd Ostrom
Dr. Jeffery R. Patt D.C.
Richard Plamondon
Charlotte and Howard Poole
Nicholas Posak
William Posak
Tim Rash
James Ribby
Tom Rozich
James Ruff
William and Carol Schomer
Gary Shepherd
Roy and Margaret Sjoberg
Tim Stanke
Michael Thomas
William Thompson
Dan L. Thoms
Tower Kleber Limited Partnership
James Tuomikoski
Barbara Tyger
Terry M. Watts
Frank Wheatlake
Clarence and Len Anne Williams
Gerald and Patsy Williams
Ralph and Hazel Williams
Gerald Wolinski
Carl and Dorothy Woosley
Lake Sturgeon