Dr. Matthew Balazik of Virginia Commonwealth University has been named a "James River Hero" for his research on the Atlantic sturgeon by the non-profit group, the James River Association. Balazik's research has documented a fall spawning run of Atlantic sturgeon on the James River.
Called "the sturgeon whisperer" by many who have had the opportunity to watch him bring sturgeon aboard the VCU Rice Center's 27-foot research skiff, Balazik has measured, tagged and sampled more than 160 fish since the beginning of August.
The association says on its website that Balazik "has touched more adult James River sturgeon than anyone in decades." Along with documenting the fall spawning run, JRA says that Balazik has raised awareness of the Atlantis sturgeon, which the National Marine Fisheries Service designated as "endanagered" in April 2012.
Balazik's research has been the topic of many news reports since August, including a story in the Bay Journal's November 2013 edition, which can be read here.
Balaszik will be honored at JRA's annual meeting on October 30, 2013, in Richmond, Virginia.
See this blog entry for more about Balazik's research.