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Herring Population at Mystic Lakes Dam Hits Three-Year High 7-14-15

Herring Population at Mystic Lakes Dam Hits Three-Year High
Nearly half a million river herring swam through the fish ladder fish ladder at Mystic Lakes Dam to spawn in 2015.
By FRANK O'LAUGHLIN (Patch Staff)
July 14, 2015

Photo Credit: MRWA

Nearly half a million river herring swam through the fish ladder fish ladder at Mystic Lakes Dam to spawn in 2015, according to citizen scientists. The dramatic change to the amount of herring passing through marks a 100% increase over the counts in the previous three years.

Since 2012, the Mystic River Watershed Association has been working with hundreds of volunteers to count river herring passing through the fish ladder at Mystic Lakes Dam to spawn in Upper Mystic Lake.

The Mystic River Watershed Association works each year to train a set of volunteers to perform visual counts at the fish ladder Mystic Lakes Dam. The volunteers agree to perform at least one 10-minute observation each week. Volunteers in the 2015 program performed 680 10-minute observations and counted 57,617 fish.

The Mystic River is one of 78 river herring runs in Massachusetts. River herring are an important component of ocean fisheries, and they need access to freshwater systems to survive.

"The scale of this herring migration shows the Mystic River to be a living, breathing ecosystem, filled with life," says MyRWA Executive Director, EkOngKar Singh Khalsa. "It may be hard to see that life from Interstate I-93, and it is easy to take this urban river for granted. But the herring run speaks to the importance of treating natural spaces in urban areas with great respect and care. We can live alongside nature, if we are thoughtful."

The Mystic River Watershed Association serves 22 communities in and around the Boston area.

From Forum

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