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TOP ROD

River Herring -

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article in the metro west newspaper concerning river herring - ck it out

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article in the metro west newspaper concerning river herring - ck it out

I found it on line - Here is the article you mentioned:

Rivers bank on herring

By Peter Reuell/Daily News Staff

Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - Updated: 12:00 PM EDT

Once, herring were so plentiful in the Sudbury and Concord rivers during spawning season the fish easily numbered in the hundreds of thousands and filled the river from bank to bank.

These days, though, Mike Meixsell would settle for seeing just one.

With the annual herring run just getting under way in rivers throughout the state, the Sudbury resident and volunteers from several other environmental groups will be watching local rivers for signs that alewife, a species of herring, are returning to MetroWest waters. The return of these fish to the waters of their birth would signal the health of local rivers is improving.

"Of course, it's exciting for anyone who is interested in the rivers," Meixsell, a retired engineer, said yesterday. "We do know they're returning...but we don't yet know they're coming up the Concord River."

Though he's confident local rivers could support the fish, the biggest obstacle the fish face may be man-made.

For years, federal officials have transported adult fish which are ready to spawn to local rivers, where they lay their eggs.

After the eggs hatch, the juvenile fish have been spotted making their way back to the ocean, where they live for as long as six years before returning to the rivers to spawn.

Wildlife officials have spotted juvenile fish leaving local rivers and ponds, but so far haven't seen any adults returning.

If they do though, they'll find their path blocked by a dam in Billerica.

With no fish ladder or other way to get the fish over the obstacle, the fish are stuck, but federal officials have refused to fund the construction of a fish ladder until it has been proven the fish are returning.

It's that scenario that makes this year's run important, said Nancy Bryant, SuAsCo Watershed Community Council's executive director.

"The way in which this whole issue was approached was let's first do the stocking...then let's see if they come back," she said. "That's what everybody is going to be watching for now: Are they returning'? Then you've got the reason to say let's get them around these dams."

"We've really got our fingers crossed," said Doug Smithwood, a fishery biologist at the U.S. Fishery and Wildlife Service's Nashua, N.H., office. "I think everyone is really waiting to see this year...what's happening to the herring stock in the Northeast."

In recent years, flooding in many rivers meant decreased herring numbers, Smithwood said, making this year's herring run all the more critical.

"We had expected we would be seeing great returns by now, but the herring runs are depressed and I think we're all looking to see why," he said.

Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust Executive Director Jane Calvin said the group hopes to have volunteers on the rivers in the coming weeks trying to spot the returning fish.

"We are continuing to monitor this spring," Calvin said. "We monitor...everything from taking the temperature to visual inspection to see if fish are coming back. The thing we really need to see is some adult fish coming back.

"We know how many are actually coming up the main stem of the Merrimack River, and we know how many are going up beyond Lowell, so we can deduce there must be some going up the Concord River, but we have yet to lay eyes on them.

"It could just take one lucky volunteer. If we get someone who finds an adult, we'll be pretty excited about that," she said.

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the first time I saw the truck stocking Herds pond on the sudburry river I couldn't beleave what they were puttung in that water. :lol:

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Pike loved those herring on their way down stream - last year at the mouth of the Concord caught two while trying for shad

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