Restoring the Living Fossils of the Great Lakes:
What is needed to ensure the successful restoration of Lake Sturgeon within the complexity of social-ecological systems?
You have been tasked to develop a new restoration plan for Lake Sturgeon, a state threatened species, that takes into consideration the complex, multifaceted goals and values of stakeholders.
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Lake Sturgeon used to be extremely abundant in the Great Lakes ecosystem and their corresponding tributaries. Having existed within these bodies of water since after the last ice age, sturgeon are innately linked to the ecosystem and to the cultures of people who live in the Great Lakes region. However, anthropogenic stressors brought on by commercialization and industrialization have caused Lake Sturgeon populations to decline dramatically. Due to their severely reduced populations, sturgeon were listed under the State of Michigan's Endangered Species Act as a threatened species. Recent efforts made by natural resource agencies and tribal entities have begun the long journey of returning Lake Sturgeon populations back to healthy population levels. However, managers must work to not only meet the needs of the species on a biological level but also satisfy the social and economic desires of stakeholder groups, many of which differ in their opinions. Which raises the question: What is needed to ensure the successful restoration of Lake Sturgeon within the complexity of social-ecological systems?