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Helping alewife herring return to the Bronx River: over 400 fish released on Tuesday, 4/10

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NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, Bronx River Alliance Executive Director Maggie Scott Greenfield, Bronx River Conservation Crew Member Nick Martinez and Patagonia volunteer Jules hold the hose as 400 fish rush into the river

For more than a decade, NYC Parks and the Bronx River Alliance have worked to restore river herring populations in the Bronx River, the only freshwater river in NYC. River herring, including both alewife and blueback herring, migrate from the ocean to freshwater to spawn and were once abundant in most of the coastal streams of NYC, but dams have blocked these fishes from using the Bronx River for centuries. In March 2015, Parks, the Bronx River Alliance, and many project partners designed and constructed the first fish passage at the 182nd St dam.

Fish passage at the 182nd St dam

Stocking the river upstream of the dam is critical to jump-starting a river herring run in the Bronx River. On April 11, our partners at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection brought ~400 wild river herring from Bride Brook, CT, and released them in the Bronx River to spawn, in the impoundment upstream of the 182nd St Dam in the Bronx Zoo. See live footage of the release here. 

The juvenile fish that will hatch, as a result of this spawning, will have the River imprinted upon them and will naturally return to the Bronx to spawn, after three to five years in the ocean. Listen to an interview wtih NYC Parks’ Marit Larson on WNYC here

Last year over 70 herring scaled the fish ladder to access this same area of the river, both demonstrating that the ladder works and indicating that the offspring of our newly-stocked fish will be able to access this area of the river as well.

We are grateful to the many funders, technical advisors, resource managers, and community groups who have joined together to further our efforts to re-establish the river herring population. Please join us in welcoming these remarkable river herring to the Bronx River!

Check out more media here:
-Periscope’s live footage.

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About the Bronx River Alliance

The Bronx River Alliance is a coordinated voice for the river that works in partnership to protect, improve and restore the Bronx River corridor so that it can be a healthy ecological, recreational, resource for the communities through which it flows.

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