Dedicated Volunteers Assist in Lowell’s Herring Count 6-7-17

Dedicated Volunteers Assist in Lowell's Herring Count
Community Updates

Posted by Elliot Silver on Jun 07, 2017

Almost forty local volunteers are assisting Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust (LP&CT) in its first River Herring (alewife) Monitoring Program in fifteen years. And in a creative partnership with Lowell's Pollard Memorial Library, local residents can also participate in the project this summer.

This spring, over 91,000 herring have been lifted over the dam in Lawrence on the Merrimack River, where they head upstream into the Merrimack and Concord Rivers. LP&CT's volunteers station themselves at the fish ladder at Lowell's Centennial Island – in all weather conditions – to count fish, monitor air temperatures and weather, and note wildlife sightings at 10-minute intervals. Over 260 individual monitoring sessions are taking place throughout the three-month monitoring program.

These efforts are helping scientists evaluate the recovery of the species, which was decimated after dams were built on local rivers, impeding their return to native spawning grounds. LP&CT, working with state and federal partners in the early 2000s, transferred alewife from the Nemasket River in southeastern Massachusetts to establish a new population in the Concord River. The success of the transfer was not evident until 2015, when herring were seen returning to the river.

In partnership with the Pollard Memorial Library, residents are invited to get directly involved in the monitoring project this summer. LP&CT will soon be setting up computer stations to encourage library patrons to watch videos taken by a submerged camera at the fish ladder, and to count and record any fish that they see. This will complement the library's Non-Fiction Book Club, which has as its August read the Henry David Thoreau book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, as well as its youth summer program, "Build a Better World."

LP&CT is enormously grateful to the many adults and young people who are assisting in the monitoring program. In addition to adult volunteers, there are parent-child pairs who are monitoring, plus students in LP&CT's Lowell Leaders in Stewardship afterschool program at Lowell High School. Jane Calvin, Executive Director of LP&CT, remarked, "We are pleased that so many local residents have responded to our call for action, coming to the fish ladder in often cold and rainy conditions to help with this long-term restoration project. Their commitment of time and their genuine interest in the monitoring program speaks to their strong connection to the local environment. We are especially delighted to see so many young people get directly involved in helping their community. We also look forward to welcoming more residents through the library collaboration this summer."

From Forum

Herring Public Forum Exemption to Wetland Act for herring protection
DaveC > 25-July-2016

Herring Run Counts 2015 Herring Counts
DaveC > 25-July-2016

Herring Management Town Brook alewives get a free ride to Billington Sea
KnightofNi > 29-April-2016

Herring Public Forum River Herring Migration Series at WHOI
KnightofNi > 30-April-2015

Eels Fines Increased for Herring Poaching
Jones River > 15-April-2015

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