CLS: Justin Chiotti
This week’s Environmental Sustainability programming is generously supported by the Dale and Tina Knobel Endowment.
“The Maumee River”
10:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Monday, Aug. 8 | Orchestra Hall
Lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) were once common throughout the Laurentian Great Lakes however, overfishing and habitat degradation extirpated lake sturgeon from many areas. The Maumee River, located in western Lake Erie, once supported large runs of lake sturgeon, which are currently considered functionally extirpated from this system. In an effort to delist this endangered species in the State of Ohio and throughout the Lake Erie basin, a plan has been developed to assess feasibility of reintroducing lake sturgeon in the Maumee River. The project is a multi-agency, binational collaborative with a goal of creating a self-sustaining lake sturgeon population of 1,500 adults through 20-25 years of stocking. Since 2018, nearly 7,000 fall fingerling lake sturgeon have been stocked into the Maumee River, this work provides a basis for continued research and strategies to restore lake sturgeon populations in Lake Erie and throughout their native range.
Justin Chiotti (phonetically: Shy-it) is a fisheries biologist for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Alpena Fish & Wildlife Conservation Office – Detroit River Substation. For the past 11 years, he has conducted fisheries assessments on Lakes Huron and Erie, while focusing on the St. Clair – Detroit River System and western Lake Erie. His area of focus is lake sturgeon biology and management; however, he is also involved with habitat restoration efforts, evaluating fish passage projects, and cold-water fish work in Lake Erie. Chiotti earned his master’s degree in biological sciences at Michigan Technological University studying lake sturgeon. His undergraduate work was completed at Michigan State University where he received a bachelor’s degree in fish and wildlife. He has worked as a tribal fisheries biologist for the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians in Manistee, Michigan and at Cornell University studying cold-water fish in Adirondack streams and lakes.