Status of imperiled sturgeon species in the Satilla and Saint Marys Rivers, Georgia
Fritts, Mark Wayne
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Historical records indicate both Atlantic and shortnose sturgeons inhabited the Satilla and Saint Marys Rivers, Georgia, but neither species has been documented recently. My objective was to assess the status of both species in these rivers and evaluate current habitat availability for sturgeons in the river systems. We expended >2800 hours of sampling effort during 2008-2010 on both river systems, in which time, small numbers of sturgeon were captured in both systems. However, water quality monitoring suggested low DO (<3 mg/L) and high water temperatures (>27⁰C) in summer may adversely affect sturgeon inhabiting the rivers. While our findings suggest that remnant reproductive populations remain in the Satilla River, habitat degradation from agricultural, silvicultural, and municipal developments could jeopardize the continued existence of both species in these rivers.