CHATTANOOGA, TN – Oct. 17, 2019 – Based on the most recent available numbers for the Lake Sturgeon restoration effort, the Tennessee Aquarium and its partners have now raised and released more than 250,000 juvenile Lake Sturgeon to the Tennessee River and other Southeastern waterways in its historical range.
The Tennessee Aquarium has reintroduced 1,508 of these freshwater giants-in-waiting into the Tennessee River system in 2019 alone. Since releases began in 2000, about 29,600 sturgeon — more than one in nine of the 252,315 reintroduced by the entire Working Group — have been cared for and returned to the wild by the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute.
Partners in the Southeastern Lake Sturgeon Working Group include:
• U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
• Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
• Tennessee Valley Authority
• U.S. Geological Survey
• The Tennessee Aquarium
• Tennessee Technological University
• University of Tennessee at Knoxville
• Conservation Fisheries Inc.
• Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources
• Georgia Department of Natural Resources
• North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
• The Tennessee Clean Water Network
• Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
• World Wildlife Fund.
The milestone highlights the importance of scientific stamina and collaboration when it comes to approaching large-scale rescue efforts for imperiled species.
Despite being one of the largest fish in the Tennessee River with lifespans stretching past 150 years, the Lake Sturgeon was pushed to the brink of disappearing from the Southeast during much of the 20th century. By 1998, changes to clean water legislation and river management practices had improved the Tennessee River as a potential habitat for sturgeon. That year, the Tennessee Aquarium helped to found the Lake Sturgeon Working Group. This umbrella group represented a host of government and non-profit organizations joining forces to restore the Lake Sturgeon to the historical waters from which it had been ousted.
About the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute
The Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute is a leader in freshwater science. For more than 20 years, our researchers have been working to better understand and protect the Southeast's abundance of aquatic wildlife. The region's rich diversity is part of our natural heritage - a gift to be discovered, appreciated and protected.
Learn more about the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute online at www.tnaqua.org/protect-freshwater.
Get updates about our field conservation and research projects by following the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute on Facebook and Twitter.
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