A thousand or so juvenile white sturgeon slipped into the water below Wanapum Dam on the Columbia River on Thursday.
Members of the Wanapum Band of Priest Rapids, with representatives of the Yakama Nation and the Grant County Public Utility District, released the sturgeon into the pool as part of a yearlong project. The goal is to see the juvenile sturgeon grow up and start producing offspring in about 18 years, said Mike Clement, senior biologist with the Grant PUD. The fish can live up to 100 years.
The population of young sturgeon in the Columbia River reservoirs from Priest Rapids to Rock Island Dam near Chelan dramatically has declined. Clement said fish biologists suspect predation is the reason for fewer juvenile sturgeon. While larger sturgeon can hold their own against smallmouth bass and walleye, younger sturgeon less than 12 inches are vulnerable.
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