ALBANY — The state Department of Environmental Conservation has adopted a restoration plan for sauger, a walleye-like fish that biologists call one of New York's most imperiled fish species.
The fish used to thrive in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence and Allegheny rivers and Lake Champlain, but they've become scarce because of pollution and habitat loss. Only a small remnant population remains in Lake Champlain.
The DEC hopes to re-establish sauger in the Allegheny River, Lake Champlain and Lake Erie watersheds by 2030. The plan calls for stocking, documenting and improving habitat, population monitoring, and public outreach.
Biologists say Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River may no longer be able to support sauger populations because invasive zebra mussels have increased the water clarity and dams restrict access to key habitats