FWS Michigan

HabNet Coalition

Coastal Program Highlights

Increasing lake sturgeon and other fish populations in the Great Lakes

Michigan | 2017

Lake sturgeon are living fossils and the largest, longest-living freshwater fish in the US. In nearly all the States they are found, the lake sturgeon are listed as threatened or endangered. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan identified 16 tributaries with populations of sturgeon that could benefit from habitat improvements, including spawning reefs.

The Coastal Program worked with the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy, St. Clair-Detroit River Sturgeon for Tomorrow, University of Michigan, and others to construct a cobble stone reef preferred by sturgeon to lay their eggs. Improvements to the reef design were completed in 2016; however, sturgeon began spawning on the structure soon after the reef was constructed in 2014. Monitoring of the reef has found that it also benefits at least 15 other fish species including recreational fish species – walleye, yellow perch, and rock bass.

Cover Photo: Adrew Muir
Inset Photo: Michigan Sea Grant