July 23, 2013
Major grant for sturgeon work given to VCU Rice Center
VCU's Rice Center and Center for Environmental Studies have been funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to conduct research on the federally endangered Atlantic sturgeon under their Section 6 (endangered species) program. The $700,000, three-year award to VCU is part of a $2.5 million grant to understand the biology and ecology of this iconic fish in the Chesapeake Bay region.
Other partnering institutions include the University of Maryland and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. The VCU Rice Center has developed a national reputation for its work on Atlantic sturgeon and other migratory fishes that depend on the James River estuary. As part of the award, VCU will develop and deploy cutting-edge acoustic telemetry and GIS technologies to track migrating sturgeon and determine habitat preferences in real time. As a result of this award, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Council has invited VCU fish biologists to serve as technical advisers on a national sturgeon recovery panel this fall.
Additionally, a third Atlantic sturgeon spawning reef will be constructed in the James River beginning the week of July 22. VCU Rice Center will be conducting post-construction monitoring of the reef, which will be constructed by the James River Association in partnership with Luck Stone.