Press Release

Ahead of Earth Day, Welch Introduces Resolution to Recognize Ecological Importance of Lake Sturgeon and Emphasize Need for Increased Conservation Efforts for Freshwater Systems 

Apr 19, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Peter Welch (D-Vt.) introduced a resolution to recognize the significant ecological and cultural role of lake sturgeon in Vermont and around the country. The resolution emphasizes the need for increased conservation efforts for lake sturgeon sustainability, as a keystone species and indicator of freshwater ecosystem health.   

“As the largest and longest-living fish in Vermont, the lake sturgeon has a storied history in our state. Lake sturgeon is incredibly important for our biodiversity and the health of our ecosystems, but overfishing, degraded habitats, and other negative human behaviors have endangered this important species. My resolution recognizes the ecological and cultural importance of the lake sturgeon and encourages Congress to better support conservation efforts and the restoration of the species in Lake Champlain and in freshwater systems across America,” said Senator Welch

Lake sturgeon is one of the largest North American freshwater fish, often considered living fossils with lifespans sometimes surpassing 150 years. Found across the Northeast, the Great Lakes, and Canada, slow reproduction coupled with historical overfishing, invasive species, and habitat degradation have caused declines in local lake sturgeon populations. As a result, many states—including Vermont—have listed the species as an endangered, threatened, or otherwise protected species. 

The resolution is endorsed by the Conservation Law Foundation, Friends of Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge, Lake Champlain Committee, Vermont Sierra Club, Vermont Council of Trout Unlimited, and Lake Champlain International. 

Read the full text of the resolution. 

Lake sturgeon during telemetry fieldwork in Vermont in 2023. Photo Courtesy of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.