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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service secures $1.3M for restoration projects

March 4, 2024  By Seyitan Moritiwon

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has received $1.3 million in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding.

Three projects will be supported in 2024, which will aid in the restoration of sustainable populations of coregonines in Lake Ontario to reestablish their historical roles as forage for predators.

The first project at the Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office in Michigan will support researching coregonine populations. According to information from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website, “Research will include a focus on Lake Huron and will continue to collect baseline information on lake herring communities, including the assessment of the post-stocking survival, growth and maturity of these cultured cisco. This will allow staff to assess reproduction.”

The second project, led by the Green Bay Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, in Wisconsin, will study wild lake herring for Saginaw Bay Restoration. The conservation office will evaluate a proof-of-concept process for collecting wild juvenile fish for development into future broodstock.


“Currently, staff face hazards when accessing offshore winter spawning locations for fish collections and other serious logistical challenges, including achieving high capture efficiencies and personnel safety,” the wildlife service stated.

 The work will test a fundamentally different approach to capturing juvenile fish to determine rates of survival during capture of the fish, subsequent isolation through the rearing process, and feasibility of the method.

The third project will be a partnership with regional fisheries. Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding will also be used by the Allegheny National Fish Hatchery, and the Northeast Fishery Center, in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey Tunison Lab, in New York, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

In addition to the projects described above, work will include developing a better understanding of how these fish play a role in the food web. 

“The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has been very instrumental in supplementing our ability to support reintroductions of native prey species to the Great Lakes. We could not do this amount of work without it,” said Kurt Schilling, Midwest Region Hatchery program supervisor.

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