An effort to restore the sturgeon population in the Saginaw Bay watershed has reached a milestone. Since 2017, partners have stocked 4,055 fish, including an additional 728 this fall. These fish have been released into the Cass, Tittabawassee, Flint, and Shiawassee Rivers.
“This is an extremely exciting milestone in this long-term effort to bring this keystone species back from the brink of extinction”, said Michael Kelly of The Conservation Fund and Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network. “We know the effort is working, because while they cannot be targeted, there have been several incidental catches of the stocked fish by anglers fishing for walleye and other species along the Saginaw River tributaries. This one of the great restoration success stories in all of the Great Lakes” continued Kelly. “We look forward to continued commitment by partners and the public to both the reintroduction project and river restoration”.
Sturgeon were identified as a state-threatened species due to habitat loss, pollution and over harvest over the past century. In the Saginaw Bay region, a broad partnership that includes the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network, Michigan Sea Grant, The Conservation Fund, Sturgeon for Tomorrow, Michigan State University and others are working to bring the population back. Sturgeon released into the Saginaw system are reared at the Michigan DNR’s Black Lake hatchery, and the Federal hatchery in Genoa, Wisconsin.