Monday, February 1, 2010

Volunteers Needed for Herring Survey

The DEC's Hudson River Estuary Program is seeking volunteers to help with a survey of river herring abundance in the Hudson's tributaries. The herring monitoring program runs from April 1 - May 31, at the time when herring would be expected to be spawning. Herring spend their lives in the ocean, but spawn in the tributaries of inland rivers like the Hudson. Up and down the Atlantic coast, herring numbers have been in steep decline, and other states have restricted or banned fishing for herring in order to encourage a recovery. Anecdotal evidence suggests the same decline is happening on the Hudson; however, until this survey began last year, scientists had little recent hard data to measure the abundance of herring in the Hudson (with the exception of American shad, the biggest of the herring, and for hundreds of years the most important food fish caught in the river; commercial fishing for shad is banned, starting in 2010 in an effort to correct historic population declines.) River herring numbers (blueback and alweife herring) may be in decline because they are caught in large numbers as bait for striped bass anglers. Black Creek once had a huge spawning run of herring, but anecdotal evidence suggests it has waned or even disappeared. Black Creek is the only monitoring site in Ulster County.

Volunteers are asked to look for signs of herring, at least twice a week for 15 minutes. Training will be provided and no experience is necessary.

For more information, email or call 845-256-3182.

The Hudson River Estuary Program is also currently taking public comment on its latest Action Agenda, the document that guides the public-private effort to restore and protect the Hudson River watershed. You can learn a lot just by reading the plan, but it's also good to comment if you want to support or criticize any aspects of the plan.

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