By JANET McCONNAUGHEY
Scientists and students embarking on a census of Georgia lake sturgeon have found three females with mature eggs — an indication that the prehistoric fish may be reproducing in Georgia for the first time in a half-century. Polluted water and markets for caviar and fish meat had wiped the species out of the Coosa River in the 1970s. University of Georgia associate professor Marty Hamel says the Georgia Department of Natural Resources began reintroducing lake sturgeon 20 years ago, after the Clean Water Act cleaned up the river. It takes females 20 to 25 years to mature. So until the mature eggs turned up this year, nobody knew if sturgeon were surviving long enough to reproduce.
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