The Nechako White Sturgeon Conservation Centre

Over the past ten years thousands of school children from cross the Nechako Region have been learning about the Nechako white sturgeon.

Over the past ten years thousands of school children from cross the Nechako Region have been learning about the Nechako white sturgeon.

Justus Benckhuysen

Member of the

Nechako White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative

 

Over the past ten years thousands of school children from cross the Nechako Region have been learning about the Nechako white sturgeon.

This year is a milestone year for sturgeon and education about this massive prehistoric fish thanks to the efforts of the Nechako White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative and all of its partners and volunteers. Earlier this year, on 4 April, the culmination of much hard work and collaboration between everyone involved the Nechako White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative celebrated the release of one-year old sturgeon into the Nechako River. These juvenile white sturgeon were reared in the Nechako White Sturgeon Conservation Centre. Setting these young fish free marks the end of the Centre’s first full year of operation. Four hundred students from across the region got to release their own sturgeon on that day.

Now the cycle has started again. Over the past few weeks staff from Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC and volunteers worked side by side to spawn adult sturgeon captured in the river. The fertilized eggs have been incubating for the past two weeks in water filled tubes and are now hatching by the thousands. Swarms of small sturgeon larvae are making their way out of the incubating tubes into their temporary homes in the Conservation Centre.

The Conservation Centre is a critical part of the plan to save the fabulous Nechako White Sturgeon. Up to 12,000 Nechako White sturgeon will be raised there each year while researchers find out what needs to be done to have a self-sustaining wild population. Nechako White Sturgeon would be in danger of extinction if it were not for the Conservation Centre.

Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC operates the Conservation Centre on behalf of the Nechako White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative, which is a provincially led process. The Centre serves not only an instrumental role in saving sturgeon from extinction but also is playing an important role in environmental education. The Recovery Initiative developed a Grade 4 Curriculum which is now available to any teacher wanting to incorporate the Nechako White Sturgeon into classroom activities and field trips. It will also soon have outdoor education displays linked to school curriculum learning objectives. The outdoor education project will be managed by Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC with the help of the Recovery Initiative Community Working Group. The grade 4 curriculum and the outdoor displays are just a first step, the Recovery Initiative is aiming to write curriculum appropriate for all grades and is also pursuing a permanent indoor Stewardship Centre that will be dedicated to environmental education.

The Conservation Centre is closed to the general public until July but at other times of the year the Centre offers guided tours hosted by dedicated volunteers so people can learn about how the facility operates. If you are interested in becoming involved in the Recovery Initiative or would like more information about educational opportunities please contact the Recovery Initiative by visiting www.nechakowhitesturgeon.org.