Age Minimum (with Adult):18+, Minimum Age:18+, Orientation Required
Herring Count with Mystic River Watershed Association
Two species of river herring migrate up the Mystic River each spring: Alewife (Alosa psuedoharenous) and Blueback Herring (Alosa aestivalis). Both fish are anadromous: they spend most of their lives at sea and return to freshwater habitats to spawn, or lay eggs. Since the early 1900's the river herring population in the Mystic has drastically declined due to by-catch, habitat loss and degradation, water pollution, poaching, access to spawning habitat, and natural predators. They are now a threatened species. According to the Herring Alliance some river herring runs on the Atlantic Coast have declined by 95% or more over the past 20 years! In 2011, a fish ladder was installed at the Upper Mystic Lake Dam, allowing herring to access previously lost breeding grounds. In 2017, an underwater camera was installed so that volunteers could count fish and give us a better understanding of how the populations are shifting over time. This is where citizen science comes in! After learning a bit more about the Mystic River Watershed Association's ongoing efforts to revitalize native herring populations, volunteers will create an account (or sign in as a guest) to count fish in 30-60 second long videos. The data will be added to a publicly accessible database, and the top counters will be listed on an online leaderboard (we will even give a prize to the top-counter after this event!). A smartphone, tablet, or computer is required to view the videos, so come prepared with your own. Light snacks will be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own food as well.
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