The idea behind the River Herring Network, a forum for wardens to meet and talk about river herring issues, was discussed by many folks for many years.
In 2009 the North & South Rivers Watershed Association (NSRWA) received a Massachusetts Environmental Trust grant on behalf of the Mass Bays Program to, among many things, help coordinate and improve local volunteer efforts to monitor anadromous fish, and to organize a workshop where the staff and volunteers involved with local fish counts could share information and learn about the regional and national efforts to protect and restore diadromous fish.
Complementary to these efforts, the NOAA Fisheries, Protected Resources Division sought an organization to coordinate a workshop to discuss visual herring count methods, present visual count and current stock status data, and identify the needs of volunteer organizations conducting these counts. In Summer 2010 the NSRWA was contracted to plan and coordinate a workshop for volunteer groups and town herring wardens conducting herring counts. With these resources two workshops were held; one in Fall 2010 and one in Spring 2011. Both were hosted by the Jones River Watershed Association at the Jones River Landing in Kingston, MA.
In 2011 & 2012 the Massachusetts Bays Program awarded grants to the Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen's Association to organize a river herring warden network by compiling a contact list, creating a website with opportunities for wardens to edit content and post ideas and observations, developing a Best Management Practices template, and holding workshops and meetings.
This website was established in 2011 and the first annual meeting was held in Bourne in October of that year. Annual meetings in 2012, 2013, & 2014 were supported financially by the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermens' Alliance, the Cape Cod Conservation District, Barnstable County Cape Cod Cooperative Extension, and Woods Hole Sea Grant.