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Environment & Energy

ODNR Says a Cleaner Cuyahoga River Might See Return of Sturgeons in Future

photo of a very large sturgeon
Candlescent, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
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Sturgeons are native to the Great Lakes. Their fossils date back to the late Triassic Period.

A fish whose existence dates back to the time of the dinosaurs could be returning to the Cuyahoga River.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is working with Cleveland Metroparks, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and others to study the idea of re-introducing sturgeons to a cleaner Cuyahoga.

Eric Weimer supervises the Fisheries Assessment Unit in Sandusky for ODNR. He said restocking the river is going to take some time.

“Don’t expect to see fish in the water in the next year. It’s going to be down the road a bit further," he said. "We have to be responsible with the resources that we have, and we want to make sure that we’re putting fish in places where they have a high likelihood of success.”

Weimer said sturgeons are sensitive to pollution and require clean water to live and breed.

A similar project resulted in sturgeons being released in the Maumee River last year. Weimer said that effort took 10 years to plan.