For more than a decade, NYC Parks and the Bronx River Alliance have focused on restoring 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.
Stocking the river upstream of the dam is critical to jump-starting a river herring run in the Bronx River. On April 20th, 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. 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. Only a few days before the stocking, we were pleased to find that 3 herring had used 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 to welcome these remarkable river herring to the Bronx River!