Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord (SuAsCo) River Watershed Clupeid Restoration Program

Case Name:


United States of America

Restoration Types:

Population Support


Affected DOI Resources:

Anadromous Fish





Project Description

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

River herring (collectively alewives and blueback herring) are anadromous fish that migrate into freshwater rivers and streams during the spring to spawn. After hatching, the juveniles spend the summer feeding in freshwater before outmigrating to the ocean in the fall., Credit: Jones River Watershed Association

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Restoration Documents

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New England Ecological Services Field Office

Concord, NH | (603) 223-2541 |

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