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Lake sturgeon release events

September 23, 2023 @ 11:00 am - 3:00 pm

a young lake sturgeon in hands

Local, state, and federal partners invite the public to a second lake sturgeon release celebration on September 23, 2023, in the Saginaw Bay river system. Releases will reintroduce more than 100 hatchery-raised sturgeon into each tributary of the Saginaw Bay river system (Cass, Flint, Shiawassee, and Tittabawassee rivers). Short presentations may be made at three of the events by local partners.

This year’s release events will mark an important milestone: 5,000 lake sturgeon released into the Saginaw Bay river system to help rebuild populations of this iconic native fish species.

A child releasing sturgeon into the river

Public release events on Sept. 23 include:

  • 11 a.m., Tittabawassee River. It will be held at the Bob G. Caldwell Municipal Boat in Midland, MI. For more information, contact Jennifer Kirts at jkirts@chippewanaturecenter.org
  • 12 p.m., Shiawassee River. The release will take place at Cole Park in Chesaning, MI, and will be hosted by the Friends of the Shiawassee River. For more information, contact Sarah Baker at sbaker@shiawasseeriver.org
  • 1:30 p.m., Flint River. It will be held at the Paddlers’ Landings (Mott Park Recreation Area) in Flint, MI, and will be hosted by the Flint River Watershed Coalition. For more information, contact Jennifer Raymond at director@flintriver.org
  • 2 p.m., Cass River. The release is at the parking lot at the Gunzenhausen Walkway in Frankenmuth, MI, and will be hosted by the City of Frankenmuth. For more information, contact Dan Hopp at dhopp@frankenmuthcity.com.   

Click here to download a sharable flyer as a PDF

Lake sturgeon are a unique Great Lakes species. They can grow up to 7 feet long and can weigh up to 300 pounds. The slow-maturing fish do not begin reproducing until they are 15-20 years old. Once abundant in many Michigan lakes and rivers, lake sturgeon were nearly eradicated due to overfishing and habitat loss, particularly the destruction of rocky reefs in rivers that sturgeon and other native fish species use for spawning. In recent years, many partnerships and projects are working to restore sturgeon to a self-sustaining level in Michigan. This work includes restoring sturgeon habitat, reintroducing sturgeon into their native ranges, and raising awareness and appreciation for this unique species.

The August 2023 sturgeon release events are supported by a variety of partners including City of Frankenmuth, Chippewa Nature Center, Flint River Watershed Coalition, Friends of the Shiawassee River, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, MSU Extension, Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network, Sturgeon for Tomorrow – Black Lake Chapter, The Conservation Fund, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and more. 

Learn more about the lake sturgeon restoration efforts on the Saginaw Bay Sturgeon website (www.saginawbaysturgeon.org). 


Meaghan Gass, Michigan Sea Grant Extension Educator, gassmeag@msu.edu, (989) 895-4026 ext. 5

Mike Kelly, The Conservation Fund, Great Lakes Office, Director, kellym@conservationfund.org, (989) 892-9172


September 23, 2023
11:00 am - 3:00 pm