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Red Lake tribal Natural Resource staff assisting with the release of Lake Sturgeon back into Red Lake. Photo courtesy of Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians..

Red Lake tribal Natural Resource staff assisting with the release of Lake Sturgeon back into Red Lake. Photo courtesy of Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians.

Tribal Wildlife Grant Helps Red Lake Band of Ojibwe

Discovering and learning about aquatic wildlife can be exciting and we want to make sure that everyone can enjoy all that nature can provide. The lake sturgeon is one of the most amazing and ancient fish species. In the 1950s, due to overfishing and habitat loss lake sturgeons were eradicated from the Red Lake watershed in Minnesota. The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians were concerned and wanted to make a difference. In 2006, 2009 and 2013 the Red Lake Band applied for and received Tribal Wildlife Grants focused on rehabilitation, evaluation and range determination of lake sturgeon in the headwaters of the Red River of the North.

The Band’s most recent Tribal Wildlife Grant was funded for work on the lake sturgeon to be done in 2013 through 2015. Even though the project is wrapping up this fall, positive impacts will continue to happen through the Red Lake Band’s efforts. The Red Lake Band has purchased more than 225,000 sturgeon eggs and stocked more than 90,000 sturgeon fingerlings in Red Lake.

“The Tribal Wildlife Grant has really helped the Red Lake Band kick-off our lake sturgeon restoration program,“ says Red Lake Fisheries Director Pat Brown. “Working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and all our other partners has proven to be successful in restoring lake sturgeon.”

This restoration project is designed for everyone and needs a lot of support from partnering conservation agencies. The Red Lake Band has collaborated with the Genoa National Fish Hatchery to raise and hatch lake sturgeon eggs. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources works on similar walleye and lake sturgeon restoration projects and helped the Red Lake Band leverage their efforts to create a greater impact for the lake sturgeon. The Red Lake Band has exceeded their preliminary goal of stocking 20,000 sturgeon fingerlings, implemented a lake sturgeon management plan and passed a tribal moratorium on harvesting lake sturgeon to protect the species for future generations. The Red Lake Band will look into new ways to engage youth in restoration and conservation by developing a classroom program that will put lake sturgeons and aquariums into classrooms for students to connect, relate, raise and discover the importance of the lake sturgeon.

We are proud to have awarded and partnered with the Red Lake Band to restore the lake sturgeon. We also look to future partnerships to conserve, restore and protect fish, wildlife, plants and habitats of tribal significance.

Alejandro Morales
Regional Office – External Affairs

Genoa National Fish Hatchery employee releasing lake sturgeon fingerlings into Red Lake. Photo courtesy of Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians.

Genoa National Fish Hatchery employee releasing lake sturgeon fingerlings into Red Lake. Photo courtesy of Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians.

 

Last updated: July 31, 2015