WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Lake Sturgeon populations in the St. Lawrence River are continuing to recover.

This was confirmed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on January 21 after it released its 2021 Lake Sturgeon Population Assessment Report.

According to the DEC, this report confirmed that the lake sturgeon population in the Upper and Lower St. Lawrence River has exceeded “crucial metrics” of the Lake Sturgeon Recovery Plan for adult spawning and juvenile recovery.

Specifically, both locations on the St. Lawrence had over 750 spawning adults, over three natural reproduced year classes in a five-year period and met both adult and reproduction goals. The Upper St. Lawrence also had a highly positive trend in 2021.

Lake sturgeon have been on the state’s threatened species list since 1983. To address the declining populations, the DEC started its lake sturgeon restoration program in 1993by stocking four sites.

Moving forward to 2021, the DEC, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stocked ten locations throughout New York State.

The DEC also confirmed that the lake sturgeon population has now reached the target in four of the seven management units. When the population reaches the target level in two more management units, lake sturgeon can be removed from the threatened species list.

“Lake sturgeon are rebounding in New York State, and that’s great news,” Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a press release on Friday. “This progress is possible because of the work of dedicated staff at DEC, and our strong partnerships with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, New York Power Authority, and Cornell University. Together, we have secured funding, raised and released sturgeon, and used science to track our success, and DEC looks forward to continuing these effective collaborations.”

The Lake Sturgeon Recovery Plan was first written in 2018. It set the goal of “establishing or maintaining sufficient self-sustaining populations of lake sturgeon within six of the seven management units to warrant removal of lake sturgeon from the list of threatened species in New York.” The Plan is set to continue through 2024.

The full Lake Sturgeon Recovery Plan and 2021 Lake Sturgeon Population Assessment Report can be found on the DEC website.