River herring (alewives and blueback herring) are small, silvery forage fish found along the East Coast from Newfoundland to northern Florida. Anadromous in their native range, river herring spend most of their adult lives in the ocean but migrate into freshwater rivers each spring to spawn. Like other anadromous species, dams and weirs have blocked their migratory routes to upstream spawning habitats, contributing to the decline of river herring populations. In 2003 and 2004, the Charles George Landfill Trustees provided funding to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (USFWS) Central New England Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office to monitor and stock river herring in the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord (SuAsCo) River Watershed.
During the spring spawning run of 2004, approximately 5,000 adult river herring were transported from the Nemasket River in southeastern Massachusetts and released at several locations along the Sudbury River, including Heard Pond. Additionally, 30 alewives and 60 American shad were captured at the Essex Dam on the Merrimack River and released into the Sudbury River. During the fall, two electrofishing surveys were conducted in Heard Pond, the primary stocking location, and large numbers of juvenile river herring were observed. A volunteer group was also organized by the USFWS and Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust to monitor passage at the Centennial Falls Dam, located downstream of the larger Talbot Mills Dam, as the juvenile river herring would be outmigrating through the Concord River to the ocean but no juveniles were observed during the survey. The information gathered from these surveys was used to outline remedial actions needed to improve the passage of river herring and shad at the dams on the Concord River, and plan for future river herring restoration and stocking in the watershed.
Restoration Land Ownership
County or Municipal; State
Parties Implementing Restoration
Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust ; Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
DOI Project Representatives
Fish and Wildlife Service