Atlantic salmon recovery in Lake Ontario demonstrates that Great Lakes restoration efforts are working

Much of what we read about the Great Lakes these days falls into the category of bad news.

Quagga mussels and other invasive species are wreaking havoc on the lakes’ ecosystems. Lake Erie is plagued by toxic algae blooms that create dead zones in the lake. Sewer overflows in Detroit and other cities continue to foul the lakes and force beach closures. Asian carp are on the verge of invading Lake Michigan.

All of those issues are important and must be addressed. But in this era of seemingly nonstop negative news, it’s important to remember that government agencies and conservation groups are making great strides in efforts to restore the Great Lakes.

Case in point: Wild Atlantic salmon are mounting a dramatic recovery in Lake Ontario. The fish are currently spawning in the Salmon River in Pulaski, N.Y.

This Great Lakes restoration success story was highlighted recently in a Wall Street Journal article.

Lake Ontario once supported the world’s largest Atlantic salmon fishery. Alas, overfishing and habitat destruction nearly eliminated this sentinel species from the lake.

The resurgence of Atlantic salmon in Lake Ontario is the culmination of years of hard work by the U.S. Geological Survey. We featured the project in a recent report, which can be read here.

For the past three years, schools of wild Atlantic salmon have returned to the Salmon River to spawn a new generation of fish.

The resurgence of Atlantic salmon in Lake Ontario is cause for celebration.

It is also a noteworthy reminder to those who would have us believe that the Great Lakes are in some sort of death spiral. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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