Some sturgeon are swimming around in the Snake River in Hells Canyon with tiny radio transmitters.
Idaho Power Co. biologists have started a long-term field survey of the sturgeon population in a portion of the Snake River below Brownlee Dam.
Since the survey started last spring, they have captured and released 28 sturgeon in the first phase of a survey that will end in four years.
Six of the captured sturgeon were fitted with miniature transmitters so biologists can follow the movement and behavior patterns of the fish. Two of the six radio-tagged fish were pregnant females expected to spawn next spring.
The survey is part of Idaho Power’s federal licensing requirements for its three-dam Hells Canyon Complex.
Earlier this year, the company completed a three-year sturgeon in the Snake River between the C.J. Strike and Swan Falls dams. The study estimates there are about 1,500 sturgeon below C.J. Strike Dam, ranging from three to eight feet. Between Bliss and C.J. Strike, there are an estimated 4,300 sturgeon of similar size.