Saving The Sturgeon
Size: To 8 ft., 300 lbs.
Range: eastern North America in the upper and middle Mississippi River basin, Great Lakes and Hudson Bay drainages, and upper Coosa River system
Habitat: Large lakes and rivers
Diet: Benthic species, such as mollusks, crayfish, and insect larvae
Conservation status: Endangered in Tennessee
Since 1998, TNACI has helped lead a statewide effort to establish a self-sustaining population of lake sturgeon in Tennessee. Due to the unique life history of lake sturgeon, which can live up to 150 years of age and reproduce at 10-26 years of age, we have pledged to continue this program for at least 25 years. With a large group of partners, including the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Tennessee, and Tennessee Valley Authority, we have restored over 125,000 lake sturgeon to the upper Tennessee River system in the first 12 years of the program. Since 2008, we have also worked with our partners to reintroduce lake sturgeon in the Cumberland River in Nashville. In May 2010, we held our first lake sturgeon release in Chattanooga, bringing the excitement to our own backyard. This program was recently recognized with awards from the Association for Zoos and Aquariums and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. Annual monitoring work as well as angler reports have been effective in catching Lake Sturgeon from all year classes that were released through this program. These catches give us useful information on how these released fish are moving and growing.