In The Know with Gino: Tennessee Aquarium Celebrates 25 Years of Lake Sturgeon Restoration Efforts with the Arrival of 2,500 Juvenile Sturgeon

Lake Sturgeon 21 1 Scaled 2400x0 C DefaultPicture Courtesy of Tennessee Aquarium

CHATTANOOGA, TN – In a remarkable conservation effort spanning 25 years, the Tennessee Aquarium and its partners in the Southeastern Lake Sturgeon Working Group have been working diligently to restore the population of Lake Sturgeon in Tennessee. The recent arrival of 2,500 juvenile sturgeon at the Aquarium’s freshwater field station marks another milestone in their ongoing mission.

Lake Sturgeon, known for their massive size and potential longevity of up to 150 years, had faced dire circumstances just a few decades ago. The combination of damming, overfishing, and poor water quality in the Tennessee River had led to their local extinction. However, through the collaborative efforts of government and non-profit organizations, the tide has turned in favor of these river giants.

Improved water quality, thanks to the Clean Water Act of 1972, and reservoir release improvements by the Tennessee Valley Authority, created a more favorable environment for the Lake Sturgeon. Furthermore, fisheries management from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency offered increased protection for the species. With these advancements, the Tennessee River became a suitable habitat once again.

The unique life history of Lake Sturgeon, with their late onset of reproduction at 17-25 years, necessitated a sustained effort to restore their population. The partners knew that by committing to the project, they could contribute to the recovery of this incredible species.

Since the inception of the Lake Sturgeon Working Group, over 300,000 sturgeon offspring have been reintroduced to the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. These fish are descendants of wild-spawning sturgeon from Wisconsin’s Wolf River, where the population remains stable. Eggs collected and fertilized in Wisconsin are transported to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service‘s Warm Springs National Fish Hatchery in Georgia before being cared for at the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute‘s freshwater field station.

Although it may take many more years for the sturgeon to reach sexual maturity and begin reproducing naturally, the anticipation among biologists is palpable.

As the 25th anniversary of the Lake Sturgeon Working Group approaches, the Tennessee Aquarium invites the public to learn more about these fascinating creatures. A wealth of information can be found at Additionally, a live video feed of the Sturgeon Bend touch experience is available in the newly opened Ridges to Rivers gallery at

The partners in the Southeastern Lake Sturgeon Working Group continue their dedication to the restoration of Lake Sturgeon. Through their combined efforts, they hope to witness the recovery of this iconic species in Tennessee’s waters.

SOURCE: Chattanooga Pulse