Genoa NFH assists six states and three Midwestern Tribes to restore lake sturgeons to their waters. Lake sturgeons are a very important part of Native American culture and history. Lake sturgeon populations have been heavily depleted through human activities such as pollution, overfishing, habitat destruction and the construction of barriers such as dams that impede migration. Genoa NFH hatchery currently raises five strains of lake sturgeon for ongoing restoration programs to assist in this long lived and interesting species. The best time to see sturgeon production at the hatchery is from May to September. The hatchery also has constructed two streamside rearing trailers for this imperiled species and assists in the operation of one unit on the Kalamazoo River in Michigan.
Genoa NFH assists in a multi-agency program to recover two federally endangered mussels to their historic range. This is accomplished by collecting wild adult mussels with two station divers and placing mussel larvae, or glochidia, on the correct host fish species for that particular mussel species. Mussels require a fish host to complete their life cycle. Microscopic mussel larvae live off nutrients supplied by the fish while attached to the skin or gills of the “host.” Genoa NFH also works to restore 11 other native mussel species throughout the nation and is considered a national leader in the development of techniques and methods to forward freshwater mussel propagation.
Coaster Brook Trout
Genoa NFH works to restore coaster brook trout to the Lake Superior drainage area. Coasters are a variant of brook trout that migrate to the ocean or the Great Lakes to feed and grow before returning to their nursery or birth streams to reproduce. The small fish are protected from predation while in the nursery streams, but grow faster and larger when enjoying the vast food supplies available in the larger body of water that they migrate to, be it ocean or Great Lake. Coaster brook trout were nearly extirpated at the end of the last century due to poor water quality from logging, pollution, erosion, sedimentation and overfishing.
Providing Fish and Mussels to Scientific and Academic Organizations for Research and Development
Genoa NFH produces fish and mussels to assist in the advancement of science in toxicology and the biological control of invasive species. The station works closely with the U.S. Geological Survey’s lab located in La Crosse, WI to examine toxicity of lampricides to various freshwater mussel species. Research will contribute to the development of safe biocides to control aquatic nuisance species.