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Volunteers sought for annual cleanup of Weymouth Herring Run 4-7-15

Volunteers sought for annual cleanup of Weymouth Herring Run

Wicked Local Weymouth

Heavy snow accumulations forced the annual herring run cleanup to be delayed, but warden George Loring said he is hopeful about getting some significant spring-cleaning done with the help of volunteers April 11, beginning at 8 a.m.

By Ed Baker
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Posted Apr. 7, 2015 at 3:44 PM

WEYMOUTH
Heavy snow accumulations forced the annual herring run cleanup to be delayed, but warden George Loring said he is hopeful about getting some significant spring cleaning done with the help of volunteers April 11, beginning at 8 a.m.
"It is usually held on the first Saturday in April, but we pushed it back to the 11th after looking at the snow banks," Loring said. "We wanted to give things a chance to dry out and get some repairs done before the people show up."
Some of the repairs being done by the wardens have involved replacing sections of fence along the run near Water Street.
"The fencing is falling apart because so much snow was pushed against it," Loring said. "There was no place to put it. The fence behind Dunkin Donuts got crunched."
He said some portions of the fence along the run fell into the channel, but most of the barrier remains intact.
"We were down in the flood control area making sure everything is working well so that when the fish show up we don't have anything to worry about," Loring said.
In May of 2011, upwards to 10,000 herring are believed to have died in a flood control pipe from a lack of oxygen during their annual migration to Whitman's Pond when the fish were sidetracked into a tunnel near Jackson Square.
A board behind a flood control gate dislodged and excess water flowed through the pipe, and it attracted the fish to swim toward the tube instead of migrating to Whitman's over wooden fish ladders in the herring run.
The river herring, or alewives, migrate from the ocean to Whitman's every spring to mate and lay eggs before returning to the sea a few months later, according to the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. River herring were a staple food source by Native Americans prior to the arrival of European settlers, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts, a charitable non profit environmental group.
The alewives were also used by American Indians to fertilize crops and in tribal ceremonies such as marriages, seasonal rituals and religious rites.
Loring said 455,000 herring migrated to Whitman's last year it was one of the best returns of the fish in years.
"We hope that trend will continue," he said.
The migration of the alewives to Weymouth and tributaries leading to fresh pond sources begins off the South Carolina coast.
"They tend to come up the coast when the summer comes on," he said.
The timing of the alewives in East Weymouth can vary by a few weeks because the fish tend to prefer a 51 degree water temperature, according to the Division of Marine Fisheries.
"They migrate up as the water warms up in the ocean," Loring said. "When they detect Whitman's Pond water they take a left turn and come on in."
He said the annual cleanup of the herring run dates back to the 1600's, when the fish were seen an important food source.
"They were always making sure the fish had passage up to Whitman's Pond," Loring said.
He said the cleanup attracted 120 volunteers last year that included girl scouts, boy scouts, Mass Bass members, and children with their parents.
"Bring your tools," Loring said. "The more tools we have, the more we can get done."
The work will consist of removing trash, cutting brush, painting and replacing fish ladders, according to Weymouth herring wardens.
Loring said cleanup participants would be served free water and refreshment from Dunkin Donuts, Newcomb's Restaurant and Brady's, a liquor store.
"Brady's will only be serving water," he said.
Participants are to meet at the Herring Run Park in lower Jackson Square prior to starting work.
Additional information about volunteering for the cleanup is available by calling 781-749-0189 or by emailing Loring at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
Email Ed Baker at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Follow him on Twitter @EdBakerWeymouth.

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