Since listing in 1990, wild pallid sturgeon have been documented in the Missouri River:
- between Fort Benton and the headwaters of Fort Peck Reservoir, Montana
- downstream from Fort Peck Dam to the headwaters of Lake Sakakawea, North Dakota
- downstream from Garrison Dam, North Dakota to the headwaters of Lake Oahe, South Dakota
- from Oahe Dam downstream to within Lake Sharpe, South Dakota
- between Fort Randall and Gavins Point Dams, South Dakota and Nebraska
- downstream from Gavins Point Dam to St. Louis, Missouri
- in the lower Yellowstone River, Montana and North Dakota
- the lower Big Sioux River, South Dakota
- the lower Platte River, Nebraska
- the lower Niobrara River, Nebraska
- and the lower Kansas River, Kansas.
Pallid sturgeon observations and records have increased with sampling effort in the middle and lower Mississippi River. Additionally in 1991 the species was identified in the Atchafalaya River, Louisiana (Reed and Ewing 1993) and in 2011 pallid sturgeon were documented entering the lower reaches of the Arkansas River (Kuntz in litt., 2012).
Approximately 50 wild adult pallid sturgeon are estimated to exist in the Missouri River upstream of Fort Peck Reservoir (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) 2007). An estimated 125 wild pallid sturgeon remain in the Missouri downstream of Fort Peck Dam to the headwaters of Lake Sakakawea as well as the lower Yellowstone River (Jaeger et al., 2009). Current abundance estimates are lacking for the Missouri River between Gavins Point Dam and St. Louis, MO. Garvey et al. (2009) generated an estimate of 1600 to 4900 pallid sturgeon for the middle Mississippi River (i.e., mouth of the Missouri River Downstream to the Ohio River confluence). No estimates are available for the remainder of the Mississippi River. Since 1994, supplementation with hatchery-reared pallid sturgeon has occurred throughout the Missouri River and sporadically in the Mississippi River.