Green Sturgeon (Southern DPS) (Acipenser medirostris)

Photo not available for this species
Category: Fish
Federal ESA status: Threatened
Vulnerability to climate change (More details)


Climate vulnerability

Sensitivity to climate change


Limited information is available regarding the sensitivity of green sturgeon to climate change (particularly in Washington). Green sturgeon are wide-ranging migrants, spawning in California and appearing in Washington's coastal waters, estuaries and watersheds in late summer. Although they may be sensitive to hydrological and temperature shifts in their natal watersheds, vulnerability to climate change in Washington is likely linked with changes in the marine environment. In general, water temperatures influence fish distribution, physiology, and biology. Green sturgeon likely exhibit some physiological sensitivity to water temperature increases. A study in the Klamath and Rogue River basins found that bioenergetic performance peaked at water temperatures between 15-19°C. A separate study theorized that green sturgeon utilize warmer estuarine habitats in Washington during summer to maximize growth potential. Climate change impacts (e.g., decreased pH) may also affect green sturgeon prey (e.g., benthic organisms - shrimp, amphipods, small fish, molluscs).

Confidence: Low

Exposure to climate change


  • Increased ocean temperatures
  • Declines in pH
Confidence: Moderate


This species is identified as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) under the State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP). SGCN-classified species include both those with and without legal protection status under the Federal or State Endangered Species programs, as well as game species with low populations. The WDFW SWAP is part of a nationwide effort by all 50 states and five U.S. territories to develop conservation action plans for fish, wildlife and their natural habitats—identifying opportunities for species' recovery before they are imperiled and more limited.
This species is identified as a Priority Species under WDFW's Priority Habitat and Species Program. Priority species require protective measures for their survival due to their population status, sensitivity to habitat alteration, and/or recreational, commercial, or tribal importance. The PHS program is the agency's main means of sharing fish and wildlife information with local governments, landowners, and others who use it to protect priority habitats for land use planning.