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DEC to stock lake sturgeon in North Country waters

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More than 10,000 lake sturgeon will be released into the St. Lawrence River and its tributaries Tuesday, part of an effort from the state Department of Environmental Conservation to restore the endangered species.

DEC announced the move in a press release issued Friday.

DEC will release 7,000 of the fish into the St. Lawrence River at Ogdensburg at the Greenbelt boat launch off Riverside Avenue; the rest will be divided among the Salmon, St. Regis and Raquette rivers.

“This magnificent fish species was classified as threatened in New York state nearly 40 years ago, but stocking continues to help reverse population declines that occurred earlier this century,” said Judy Drabicki, DEC’s Region 6 director.

DEC said the fish once flourished along the state’s northern border and provided large commercial harvests near Buffalo. It also said the fish could be found across the state, including Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, Lake Champlain and several St. Lawrence River tributaries.

According to DEC’s news release, sturgeon eggs were collected from mature fish at the New York Power Authority’s Robert Moses-Robert H. Saunders Power Dam in Massena this spring. After being fertilized, the eggs were transported to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service fish hatchery in Genoa, Wis., where the hatched fish were nourished until they were large enough to be stocked back into the wild. Some of the fertilized eggs were taken to the DEC Oneida Hatchery for hatching, raising and release into other New York waters.

The department was aided in the effort by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, NYPA and U.S. Geological Survey.

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