Friday, April 12, 2013

Spring fish runs are off to a great start

The annual fish run is off to a great start this spring, and fish are being monitored by volunteers throughout the watershed. On the Ten Mile River, over two thousand fish had been netted by this week and lifted over the dam at Omega Pond. A fish count is being conducted this year at Hunts Mill where the fish ladder is now complete.

Fish are also being lifted over the Saugatucket River dam on Main Street in Wakefield. This site has a poorly designed fish ladder, and fish often get caught below the dam. DEM uses this spot to fill their truck and bring fish to both Indian Lake, which is the headwaters of the Saugatucket River, and to Worden's Pond, the headwaters of the Pawcatuck River. Fish will be able to use a new ladder at Horseshoe Falls on the Pawcatuck this year, and with the addition of a fishway at Kenyon Mill, by next year they will be able to reach Worden's Pond.

On the Mill River in Taunton, fish have been spotted above the Hopewell Mills dam for the first time in over 200 years. This dam was removed last fall and is the first in a series of three dam removals on the Mill River. Because this is a large restoration project, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries has installed a video monitoring station on the river to better understand the population of this run and what fish are using the river. This bar rack directs the fish past the video monitor. It is apparent now that there has been a small surviving run of fish, because several hundred herring have been counted, as have many yellow perch and white suckers which also migrate upstream to spawn. We are very excited to see the fish return to the Bay, and love to get reports from dedicated volunteers and partners who work hard on river restoration projects.

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