The Akwesasne community has long sustained a traditional lifestyle from the harvest of fish from the St. Lawrence and its tributaries. The degradation in fish populations in various forms has changed this. These include restrictions to fish consumption due to contaminants, overharvest, blockage of access to spawning areas by dams and other obstructions and degradation of water quality resulting from logging and agricultural practices, and municipal and industrial wastes.
The Water Resources Program works to preserve existing fish species and re-establish their presence in the St. Lawrence River basin and Akwesasne territory by:
- locating populations of rare, threatened and endangered species
- estimating their abundances and identify the best habitat conditions
- identifying threats and prioritizing areas for protection
- restoring species populations
The Tribe has a longstanding partnership with the US Geological Survey to restore the fishery in Akwesasne for native fish species. These projects include the reintroduction of Atlantic salmon (extirpated from the St. Lawrence River), lake sturgeon habitat rehabilitation in the St. Regis River, and the assessment of threatened and endangered species in the St Lawrence River.