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Biologists in cold weather gear and waders collect lake sturgeon next to a dam.
Information icon Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources employees and university students net lake sturgeon for sampling. Photo by USFWS.

Lake sturgeon restoration in the Upper Tennessee River

The Warm Springs National Fish Hatchery works cooperatively with partners that include numerous states, non-governmental organizations, universities, and federal agencies to achieve restoration goals for lake sturgeon in the upper Tennessee and Coosa Rivers in the southeastern United States.

Warm Springs National Fish Hatchery has been involved, since 1998, with lake sturgeon production to improve culture techniques, feeding, fish health, habitat assessment, and telemetry studies. Hatchery staff members Carlos Echevarria and Chad Shirey traveled to Shawano, Wisconsin, in April to spawn lake sturgeon in the Wolf River, and transport fertilized eggs back to Warm Springs. Accompanying them was Bill Wayman, the Warm Springs Fish Technology director, to conduct some cryopreservation work and to provide assistance with the frantic spawning culture work. They also provided support to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources biologists with their annual lake sturgeon sampling and tagging on the Wolf River in Wisconsin.

Lake sturgeon broodfish were collected from the Wolf River with the assistance of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources biologists and a large group of volunteer students from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Six females were successfully spawned and transported back to Warm Springs, Georgia. A total of 168,222 green eggs were collected for the Upper Tennessee River and 69,128 for the Coosa River in Georgia. Once the eggs hatch, the fingerlings are held in quarantine for one month and distributed to several culture facilities in the Southeast. Fry were distributed in late May and early June. Warm Springs National Fish Hatchery will retain about 6,000 fingerlings this year for continued culture and the eventual distribution into the Tennessee River basin.

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