Several partners including the Michigan Department of Natural Resources released nearly 20,000 juvenile lake sturgeon into public waters during the summer and early fall.

Annual stocking efforts are critical to restoring the state’s lake sturgeon population, according to the Michigan DNR.

The lake sturgeon is on Michigan’s threatened species list.

The DNR and Michigan State University stocked 13,503 fish in the Lower Black River in June.

Beyond Cheboygan County, lake sturgeon were stocked in Allegan, Delta, Genesee, Menominee, Midland, Ontonagon, and Saginaw counties totaling 19,571 fish.

“Many of these stocking efforts were public events that shined a spotlight on how important lake sturgeon are to Michigan,” said DNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter. “Our state has a long history with this species, and working with our partners helps us protect them for future generations.”

Lake sturgeon eggs and larvae were collected from the wild in April and May. They were raised until they were large enough to tag before being released into lakes and rivers.