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Protect Prehistoric Giants from Extinction

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Join us in a critical fight to save the lake sturgeon, North America's ancient fish, from extinction by supporting their addition to the Endangered Species List.

The Lake Sturgeon, North America’s ancient giant, faces a crisis of survival. This remarkable species, once the king of our continent's freshwater ecosystems, has seen its numbers decline by roughly 99% over the last century1.

As the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) considers whether to list the Lake Sturgeon under the Endangered Species Act, the time to act is now.

Why Protect the Lake Sturgeon?

Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) are more than just fish; they are a vital part of our aquatic heritage. Indigenous to the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River, and the Hudson Bay, these "living fossils" have thrived in North American waters since the time of the dinosaurs. Their dramatic decline is due to overfishing, habitat loss, and pollution—pressures that continue to threaten their survival today2.

Despite some regional successes in sturgeon conservation, the overall population remains at risk. In areas like the Rainy River and Lake of the Woods, conservation efforts have led to significant population recoveries2. However, without federal protection, these local efforts may not be enough to combat the broader threats facing the species across its historic range.

The Ecological and Economic Impact

Lake Sturgeon are ecological engineers. They play a crucial role in maintaining the health of their aquatic environments. Their decline could have cascading effects on other species and the overall health of our waterways.

The economic implications are also significant. Sturgeon fishing is a vital part of local economies, particularly in areas like Minnesota, where the fishing industry supports local businesses and contributes significantly to the economy through tourism3. Protecting the sturgeon not only preserves a species but also supports economic stability for communities dependent on recreational and commercial fishing activities.

Take Action

The decision by the FWS is imminent. If the Lake Sturgeon is listed as an endangered species, it will gain critical protections that could significantly aid in its recovery. This includes habitat preservation, funding for restoration projects, and strict regulations that could help mitigate the threats to its survival.

The fate of the Lake Sturgeon is not just in the hands of policymakers and scientists—it’s in yours too. By signing the petition to list the Lake Sturgeon under the Endangered Species Act, you are taking a stand for biodiversity, ecological health, and economic stability. Your voice can ensure that future generations will also have the opportunity to witness these incredible creatures thrive.

Take action today. Sign the petition to demand federal protection for the Lake Sturgeon. Let’s give this prehistoric giant a fighting chance at survival.

More on this issue:

  1. Brad Dokken, Grand Forks Herald (29 March 2024), "Future of lake sturgeon management hangs in the balance as feds consider Endangered Species Act listing."
  2. Mary Helen Sprecher, Sports Destinations (11 April 2024), "Fishing Destinations Fighting Having Sturgeon Put on Endangered Species List."
  3. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, "Species Profile - Lake Sturgeon."
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The Petition:

To the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service,

We, the undersigned, are writing to implore the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to urgently consider the Lake Sturgeon, Acipenser fulvescens, for inclusion on the list of species protected under the Endangered Species Act. This prehistoric fish, once abundant across North America's Great Lakes, Mississippi River, and Hudson Bay watersheds, has experienced a catastrophic decline of approximately 99% over the past century due to overfishing, habitat loss, and pollution.

Lake Sturgeon are unique, not only because of their historical significance and ecological role as one of the oldest freshwater fish species in North America but also due to their extraordinary life history traits, including long lifespans and late maturity. These characteristics make them especially vulnerable to the aforementioned threats and slow to recover from population declines.

Federal protection would ensure that critical habitats are preserved and that conservation efforts are enhanced and coordinated across state lines. It would also facilitate the necessary funding and resources to implement effective recovery programs aimed at restoring the species’ populations to sustainable levels.

By granting Lake Sturgeon federal protection under the Endangered Species Act, we are not only safeguarding an irreplaceable part of our natural heritage but also ensuring a brighter future for our ecosystems and for generations to come. We believe that with concerted efforts and robust protection, the Lake Sturgeon can be brought back from the brink of extinction.

Thank you for considering this vital issue. We look forward to your positive response and to seeing the necessary actions taken to protect and restore the Lake Sturgeon populations throughout their historic range.


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