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SUNY Oswego professor leading Great Lakes grant research

 The Salmon River Fish Hatchery in Altmar, NY is similar to those where researchers are working to develop stronger Great Lakes native species.
Abigail Connolly

A grant project in central New York is working to restore and conserve native fish populations in the Great Lakes.

Nick Sard, an assistant professor of Great Lakes biology at SUNY Oswego, is leading a team of researchers from SUNY Oswego and SUNY Cortland in a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-funded project focused on conservation and restoration of native fish populations. Sard said the project is contributing to a long-term issue Great Lakes waters face.

“This is a collective effort of conservationists around the Great Lakes to diversify the prey base for top predators and in doing so, help address long-standing habitat issues,” Sard said,

In addition to looking at issues facing fish habitats, the project will work on developing genetic tools and new fish hatchery practices to boost fish population strength. Sard said by using different genetic markers, hatcheries will be able to produce fish with greater similarities to those found in the wild, leading to a higher survival rate.

“The goal of this project is to produce these hatchery fish in a way that they are wildlike and that is to their benefit and our benefit,” Sard said.

The grant research is also aimed at educating SUNY Oswego and Cortland students. Sard said the students who are working with the researchers are not only learning how to develop strong research practices, they are expanding their networks and working to address complex environmental issues.

“This opportunity that they have is just excellent,” Sard said. “It is a top-of-the-line opportunity to work with several different state and federal agencies on a challenging problem of our time.”

The grant project has the potential to extend annually through the next five years.

Abigail is a temporary WRVO News Reporter/Producer working on regional and digital news stories. She graduated from SUNY Oswego in 2022 where she studied English and Public Relations. Abigail enjoys reading, writing, exploring CNY and spending time with family and friends. Abigail first joined the WRVO team as a student reporter in June 2022.