Friday, July 08, 2011

Shad in the Charles and the Connecticut

Matt Houskeeper (@Soundbounder) Tweeted a link to a story out of Boston about 330,000 American shad larvae being released into the Charles River (time to drop the needle on “Dirty Water,” by the Standells).

It sounds like a great project made possible by the work of what sounds like a great organization -- the Charles River Watershed Association.

It also reminded me that yesterday I received the last update of the season on diadromous fish in Connecticut (and up the Connecticut River into Massachusetts), from Steve Gephard of the Connecticut DEP.

Almost 250,000 shad were counted on the Connecticut this year, up from fewer than 170,000 last year. The number of alewives on the smaller rivers (particularly Bride Brook in East Lyme and the Mianus River in Greenwich) was about the same as last year, when the alewife run was nothing short of great. And blueback herring were, again, missing in action, as Steve put it. Here’s how he summarized the run:

At the end of the season, it is tempting to issue some broad sweeping conclusions of the runs. It is difficult for us to do that at this time since we have not had the time to critically examine our data. My sense, however, is that the 2011 alewife run was similar is scope and size to the 2010 run—which was the best year in many. This year was not any better (perhaps not quite as good) but it was in the same range. For any year, you’ll have some that are much better (e.g. Bride Brook with a record 196,000+) and some that are much worse (e.g. Branford Water Supply Ponds with 4,400 following last year’s 50,000+). For blueback herring, it does not appear we moved the needle much from last year. Numbers at the Mianus Pond fishway may have inched up a little along with Wood Dam (Saugatuck River) but in most streams the species remains ‘missing in action’. The shad run in the Shetucket River was very disappointing (even as the run in the Connecticut River was quite good) and the lamprey run in the Hammonasset River was better than usual. We hope to have more coastal fishways reporting data in 2012 when these reports resume. Have a good summer!

I don’t know why he sends out a pdf of his report instead of putting it online. The DEP does the same thing with its summer water quality and hypoxia surveys of Long Island Sound -- that is, emails a pdf rather than putting results on its website. Mysterious.

Nevertheless, the information and analysis is fascinating. I made a jpeg (above) of the first page of the report. If you’re interested, Steve will put you on his mailing list for next spring. Ask him, at


Post a Comment

<< Home

eXTReMe Tracker