Toward the end of the 20th century, it became apparent that White Sturgeon in the Columbia River upstream of Grand Coulee Dam were declining in abundance and the population was not able to naturally sustain itself (recruitment failure). The Upper Columbia White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative (UCWSRI) was formed in 2000, as a means to internationally and domestically coordinate and collaborate on recovery efforts for this transboundary population, amongst many partner organizations in the United States and Canada. Partner organizations include those that have sturgeon management responsibilities, those whose activities impact sturgeon, and those whom are interested in working towards sturgeon recovery. The UCWSRI was divided into a Community Working Group (CWG) and Technical Working Group (TWG), although the TWG is the only body remaining active.
The UCWSRI is broadly guided by the Upper Columbia White Sturgeon Recovery Plan (UCWSRP), which was created in 2002, and updated in 2012. The UCWSRP defines recovery goals, objectives and targets, and the strategies to achieve these. Strategies principally consists of limiting sources of mortality, rebuilding abundance through hatchery supplementation, and investigating the causes of, and solutions to, recruitment failure. This document provides general direction for White Sturgeon recovery, and is complementary to the Canadian National Recovery Strategy for the federally listed component of the population in Canada.The TWG provides detailed planning and implementation for conservation and recovery activities relating to upper Columbia River White Sturgeon. The TWG is guided by a living operational plan, which outlines the tasks to collaboratively achieve the recovery goals outlined in the UCWSRP. The TWG also offers scientifically sound recovery advice to government and non-government agencies, as well as to the Canadian National Recovery Team; however, ultimate responsibility and accountability for management decisions based on this advice rests with the responsible jurisdictions.