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DNR biologist to discuss sturgeon

Winchester program at Waupaca library


Ron Bruch will present “Sturgeon: an Ancient Fish in Wisconsin Waters” at 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 18, at the Waupaca Area Public Library.

Sponsored by Winchester Academy, the program is free and open to the public.

Bruch will share his knowledge and research of the Winnebago sturgeon population and how the winter spear-fishing season was created.

Sturgeon, considered living fossils, appeared when dinosaurs still roamed the earth. They have retained many primitive characteristics that have been lost or modified in modern day fishes.

Nineteenth-century commercial fisherman considered them a nuisance for tearing their nets, and they slaughtered them, tossing them on shore to rot.

Twentieth century fishermen valued sturgeon flesh and eggs and harvested them by the ton. Eventually, wanton harvest and habitat loss took a heavy toll and brought the fish to the brink of extinction.

In Wisconsin, however, lake sturgeon have flourished due to the dedicated work of the DNR staff, university researchers and a devoted group of spearers known as Sturgeon for Tomorrow.

Bruch, a 38-year veteran of the DNR, recently retired as director of the Wisconsin DNR Fisheries Bureau.

He is a Winnebago sturgeon biologist and Oshkosh fisheries supervisor. He led assessment and public involvement efforts for the program managing the Winnebago system’s sturgeon, nurturing it into the world’s largest sturgeon population.

Bruch served as co-founder and president of the Wisconsin-based North American Sturgeon and Paddlefish Society and as co-founder and secretary general of the Germany-based World Sturgeon Conservation Society.

He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and both master’s and doctorate degrees from UW-Milwaukee, all in fisheries science.

Bruch is the author or co-author of numerous peer-review publications, as well as the national award winning book, “People of the Sturgeon, Wisconsin’s Love Affair with an Ancient Fish.”

Cookies and coffee are served at 6 p.m., and the program begins at 6:30 p.m.

Program expenses are funded through sponsors and tax-deductible donations. Bruch’s program is sponsored by Helen Robinson.

For more information, visit winchesteracademywaupaca.org, follow Winchester Academcy on Facebook or contact Executive Director Ann Buerger Linden at 715-258-2927 or [email protected].

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