Tens of thousands of lake sturgeon used to call the Maumee River home. Now that number is zero. But for the first time in more than a century, the lake sturgeon is staging a comeback. With a little bit of help, the sturgeon back in the Maumee.
"This part of the Great Lakes supported millions of sturgeons, millions, millions," Jim Boase said.
Getting the prehistoric sturgeon back home has been in the works for at least 15 years.
The fish themselves have been around for 150 millions years.
"Well before T-Rex," Boase said.
Jim Boase runs the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service office out of Detroit. This Saturday, he and Dr. Jessica Collier are coming together to release 3,000 small sturgeon right here.... and you're invited.
"It's absolutely emotional for me," Dr. Jessica Collier said. "I am so excited that this is happening. It was an amazing opportunity to be a part of this team."
The University of Toledo, the Toledo Zoo, Fish & Wildlife, and the Canadian government are just a few of those involved in bringing back the fish that lives longer than people.
"In Ohio, lake sturgeon are a state endangered fish. So they are protected," Collier said.
She is a post-doctoral fellow at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. She got her doctorate from the University of Toledo.
"I like to refer to sturgeon as the bald eagle of the Great Lakes," Boase said.
The goal is to get kids involved, and then their kids.
"We're doing this for our future generations," Collier said.
But Boase knows others will take more convincing.
"Why are you doing this here? There are so many problems with the Maumee River," Boase said.
There's another benefit besides getting kids back into nature, and back into science. These lake sturgeon help to clean up Lake Erie by eating the invasive tiger and quagga mussels.
If you'd like to attend the free event, it's Saturday October 6th, from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at Walbridge Park.