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Sturgeon Tour on the James with Dr. Matt Balazik

Here's a cool opportunity to see and learn about the amazing Atlantic Sturgeon in the James River! On the evenings of September 4 and September 16, join Dr. Matt Balazik, Sturgeon Biologist with the VCU Rice Center for the Sturgeon of the James River Tour. The area on the James between the Appomattox River and Presquile Island is a prime area to see breaching Atlantic sturgeon. Watch carefully for these ancient behemoths to leap completely out of the river while Dr. Balazik shares information from his research on the sturgeon of the James River.  

Atlantic sturgeon, recently placed on the endangered species list, are living fossils that have been swimming in the waters now known as the James River for 120 to 140 million years.

In August, Atlantic sturgeon return to the upper tidal James River on their annual Fall spawning run. They are in the river the entire month of September and into October. This remnant population of ancient sturgeon range from New Brunswick, Canada to the eastern coast of Florida.   

We are incredibly lucky to have a spawning population of Atlantic sturgeon here, on the James River, and this tour is a great way for you and your friends to come out and have an excellent chance at seeing them. There is no guarantee you will see a sturgeon, but you will be in the best possible position, during the best time of year and at a great time of day to see them.

This 2 1/2-hour tour with Discover the James will depart from Jordan Point Marina at 5:00 p.m. and return at approximately 7:30 pm. Cost is $55 per person.

When: Wednesday, September 4, 5:00 - 7:30 p.m. and Monday, September 16, 5:00 - 7:30 p.m.

Questions? Contact Captain Mike at Discover the James, (804) 938.2350,

Want to know more about Dr. Balazik's research? Video courtesy of Virginia Commonwealth University.

Another important program involving the Atlantic Sturgeon was developed by Anne Wright, assistant professor of biology and coordinator of VCU Life Sciences Outreach Education and involves high school students in the tracking of sturgeon and shad in the James River. Click here to learn more about the “Rivers in Real Time: Migration” program. 

And you can even keep up with the James River Sturgeon via Facebook.

Discover more stories like this at Science Matters and like us on Facebook.