Michigan Releases Over 7,000 Lake Sturgeons Back Into the Wild
While the National Flood Insurance Program believes that floods are the number one disaster in the U.S. as they average over $3 billion in claims per year, some animal activists believe that the extinction of specific species from our lakes and rivers is a crisis that should gain more of the nation's attention.
The good news is that it looks like government officials are listening. Just this past week more than 7,800 juvenile lake sturgeons have been released into Lake Michigan and rivers all over the state.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources put these fish into 10 different lakes and rivers across the state in order to rehabilitate what they believe is a "culturally significant fish species."
Sturgeons are the oldest known fish species to survive in Lake Michigan. Each fish can live up to 100 years old, can grow to be more than eight feet long, and weigh up to 800 pounds. They only reproduce every other year and are only able to do so between ages 15 and 25. Consequently, the recovery of the lake sturgeons has been compromised, making them a threatened species across the state.
"Many of these stocking efforts were public events that shined a spotlight on how important lake sturgeon are to Michigan," said DNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter to MLive. "Our state has a long history with lake sturgeon, and working with our partners helps us protect the species for future generations."
These pre-historic looking fish were collected from the wild last spring and were taken care of in streamside facilities by wildlife experts until they grew to seven inches or longer. They were then released into each stream and tagged for future evaluations.
In Allegan County, 38 fish were stocked in the Kalamzoo River by the DNR, U.S. Forest & Wildlife Service, and Gun Lake Tribe on August 29.
photo: DNR Michigan
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