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upcoming events

Feb 6
Winter Bird Walk, 10am - noon

Feb 8
Friends of the Malden River meeting, 6:30-8PM
Cambridge Health Alliance, 195 Canal Street, Malden

March 1
Committee Meeting, 7-9PM
Tufts University, Tisch College of Citizenship & Public Service, Lincoln Filene Hall, Rabb Room, 10 Upper Campus Road, Medford

April 30
Earth Day events

May 15
Herring Run & Paddle
32 Shore Dr., Somerville, MA

HERRING MONITORING PROGRAM

The fifth year of MyRWA's Herring Monitoring Program will begin in April 2016 - stay tuned for volunteer opportunities! The data collected is used to estimate the total herring run size in the Mystic River and is shared with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (MA-DMF) to help inform trends across the State. MyRWA would like to thank the MA-DMF, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Medford Boat Club and of course all the monitors for supporting this program!

 

WHAT IS A HERRING?

Herring is a type of fish. The Mystic River Watershed supports two species of herring: Alewife (Alosa psuedoharenous) and Blueback Herring (Alosa aestivalis). Both species, collectively called river herring, are anadromous. This means they spend most of their lives at sea and return to rivers—like the Mystic—to spawn (lay eggs).

 

WHY MONITOR RIVER HERRING?

In colonial times and earlier, herring in the Mystic River were extraordinarily abundant.  But from the 1900’s until today a much smaller population of river herring is present.

According to the Herring Alliance some river herring runs on the Atlantic Coast have declined by 95% or more over the past 20 years. In 2006 the National Marine Fisheries Service designated river herring as a species of concern. Population decline may be associated with numerous factors including by-catch, habitat loss and degradation, water pollution, poaching, access to spawning habitat, and natural predators.

Prior to renovations in 2011, the DCR Upper Mystic Lake Dam prevented river herring from reaching the Upper Mystic Lake. In the past, a volunteer-run bucket brigade hoisted the fish over the dam. Thanks to the Upper Mystic Lake Dam Rehabilitation project, a new fish ladder allows passage for river herring and the opportunity to monitor herring.

 

WHAT IS MyRWA DOING?

The Herring Monitoring Program utilizes volunteer efforts to count herring passing through a fish ladder at the DCR Mystic Lakes Dam in Medford to estimate run size. Counting occurs each spring (April - June) following the MA-DMF protocol.

The Program collects valuable data about herring populations as they make their way up the Mystic River to reach their native spawning grounds and provides a rich educational opportunity. We hope that through participation, volunteers will increase their understanding and stewardship of the Mystic River and the watershed.

 

HERRING MONITORING PROGRAM RESULTS

2015: 57,617 herring were counted by citizen scientists. Using modeling software provided by the MA-DMF, the Mystic River herring run was estimated to be 477,827 +/- 40,674 herring.

2014: 31,063 herring were counted by citizen scientists. Using modeling software provided by the MA-DMF, the Mystic River herring run was estimated to be 239,059 +/- 37,288 herring.

2013: 23,635 herring were counted by citizen scientists. Using modeling software provided by the MA-DMF, the Mystic River herring run was estimated to be 193,125 +/- 24,250 herring.

2012: 21,052 herring were counted by citizen scientists. Using modeling software provided by the MA-DMF, the Mystic River herring run was estimated to be 198,932 +/- 18,062 herring. This was the first year of the Mystic River Herring Monitoring Program.

 

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

Volunteer to be a fish monitor! No previous experience or knowledge is required. To find out more about this volunteer opportunity or the project email herring@mysticriver.org.

 

EEL MONITORING

MyRWA also monitors American Eel (Anguilla rostrata) passing through the Upper Mystic Lake Dam. Read more about eel monitoring here.

 

This program would not be possible without the support and collaboration with:

 

 

 

 

2015 DAILY COUNT

  Click to enlarge.

RIVER HERRING OBSERVED FROM 2012 - 2015 

Click to enlarge.

Click the image below to identify herring.

 

RESOURCES

 

 

 

 

 

 

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