The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin announced that the effort to reintroduce Sturgeon to their historic spawning grounds on the Wolf River at Keshena Falls is showing successful results. Menominee Tribal Conservation Department in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has reported observation of early spawning activity at Keshena Falls.
The first female was observed spawning during the late night hours of April 11, 2012 and concluded during the early morning hours of April 12. WDNR Ron Bruch indicated that this female spawned early. However, Bruch also advised that he anticipates more Sturgeon will begin migrating to Keshena Falls to begin spawning with the rising water temperature. Spawning activity for the Sturgeon typically occurs over an 8-12 hour period.
Tribal Chairman Craig Corn said, "Menominee Tribe is recreating history with the success of the reintroduction of the Sturgeon to the historic spawning grounds at Keshena Falls. This effort is vital to the Menominee people and culture."
"I am especially pleased with the successful collaboration between the Tribe and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Under Governor Walker’s Administration and the direction of WDNR Secretary Cathy Step, we have partnered in this pursuit to return this vital component of our culture and tradition to the Menominee people. Both the Menominee Indian Tribe and Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources can take pride in this historic occasion as the Sturgeon return to their historic spawning grounds at Keshena Falls, which has not happened in over 100 years," he said.
The Tribe and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources personnel will be installing sonic receivers in the waters at Keshena Falls to monitor the Sturgeon activity. Earlier this Fall and Spring, over 100 Sturgeon were transferred to the Keshena Falls site on the Wolf River, as a part of this partnership. During these transfers, the Sturgeon were equipped with sonic transmitters to monitor their migration activity.
The Menominee Indian Tribe prohibits sturgeon harvest on the Wolf River and does provide for enforcement and punishment for any person found in violation of this Ordinance.