GOSR and Partners Host Second Annual Smith Pond Alewife Stocking
On Friday, May 4, the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR) joined representatives from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the Village of Rockville Centre and Seatuck Environmental Association to participate in the Second Annual Smith Pond Alewife Stocking.
The event, which for the second time brought together volunteers and dedicated environmentalists, sought to restore the population of the alewife— a species of river herring whose numbers have recently dwindled in local waters.
Alewives, like salmon, spend most of their lives in the ocean, but migrate to coastal tributaries to breed in fresh water. However, because alewives lack leaping power, the fish have difficulty making the journey from the Mill River to a better spawning habitat at Smith Pond— largely due to a dam that restricts their access.
Armed with a Department of Environmental Conservation permit, volunteers used nets to catch more than 2,000 spawning alewives and lift them over the dam and into Smith Pond, where they can lay their eggs and return to the ocean. (The fish may not be able to leap over the dam, but they can go with the flow and get under it for the return trip.) Over time, sponsors hope that this manual intervention will increase survival rates and reintroduce this native species to the Long Island ecosystem. A longer-term solution is in the works – GOSR’s Living with the Bay team is currently assessing ways to build a “fish ladder” or passage between the pond and the river.
“Our mission does not end with rebuilding,” said GOSR's Deputy Executive Director of Community Reconstruction, Infrastructure and Small Business, Natalie Wright. “Governor Cuomo’s mandate to GOSR shapes our commitment to creating stronger, ecologically balanced communities by dramatically enhancing resiliency, restoring ecosystems, and safeguarding nature to the fullest extent possible. Thanks to DEC, the Village of Rockville Centre, and Seatuck— this one-day event has, again, made a clear and discernable difference to the ecology of Long Island.”
“Seatuck is proud to be a part of the Mill River Fish Lift,” said Enrico Nardone, Executive Director of the Seatuck Environmental Association. “We're excited to help grow the river's ecologically important river herring population by giving them a lift over the dam and a chance to reach to better spawning waters. And we're excited to introduce elected officials, students and members of the general public to the annual river herring migration and the potential for ecological restoration on the Mill River.”
The undertaking corresponds to components of the larger Rebuild By Design (RBD) Living with the Bay Project that GOSR is currently working to implement in the area.
For more information about the Living with the Bay Project, visit: https://stormrecovery.ny.gov/living-bay.
Monday, May 7, 2018