Lake sturgeon reintroduction in the Coosa River, Georgia - Alabama
Bezold, Justin David
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Lake sturgeon were extirpated from the Coosa River System during the 1970’s, after years of anthropogenic influence. In 2002, the GADNR began a long-term reintroduction program with the first annual stocking of lake sturgeon in the Coosa. From March 2004 to March 2007, I collected data on age, growth, and habitat use to assess reintroduction efforts. I also collected data on naïve and naturalized fish performance in a radio-telemetry study. Survival of stocked fish was low, but fish from each cohort have recruited to the juvenile population. Coosa lake sturgeon are in relatively good condition, but fish growth is slower compared to northern populations. Habitat use is consistent with previous reports, but summer water quality limits habitat availability in the Coosa. Naturalized lake sturgeon outperformed naïve fish in the telemetry study. The reintroduction is an initial success but many more years of data are required before complete success is determined.