DEC celebrates major milestone for Genesee River cleanup

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reached a milestone in cleaning out the lower Genesee River.

First Alert Meteorologist Alex Bielfeld attended a press conference in which the DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos announced the return of spawning lake sturgeon within the lower Genesee.

Thursday afternoon, Seggos, announced the DEC documented a spawning female lake sturgeon in the lower Genesee River for the first time in more than 50 years.

The sturgeon netted was 61 inches long and weighed nearly 70 pounds. Female lake sturgeons take roughly 17 years to mature and begin to spawn, and this is a significant milestone because the lower section of the Genesee River has been in the process of cleaning up chemical pollution within the river since it was tagged as an area of concern by the DEC.

Seggos said the next steps will be to continue the cleanup and see the sturgeon population continue to grow.

"Next steps, obviously we want to continue doing the stocking,” Seggos said. “It’s worked. As I mentioned during my remarks, we have another round of stocking planned this Fall, a thousand fish. We will continue that, at least for the next few years, and continue to gauge success."

The end goal of the project is to keep the river clean and mitigate the number of pollutants in the river.