Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Video: Alewife in the Fast Lane

Fish passage expert Abigail Franklin was taking water level measurements at a project site recently when she heard a small splash downstream. She looked up and saw waves breaking against the stream banks. 

Abigail fumbled for her camera and pushed the video button just in time. She recorded a group of alewife swim by so quickly, they created a wake!

They were swimming upstream on their way to the spawning pond, a voyage that will be made easier when a deteriorating fish ladder is replaced.

The alewife is a species of herring that has been used as a baitfish and for human consumption.

Later they will leave the pond, swim downstream and head back out to the ocean. Hopefully they will survive another year, and come back to spawn again!

Video: An Elvers Sighting

Fish passage expert Abigail Franklin was working at a project site recently when she saw juvenile American eels swimming upstream and resting on the sandy stream bottom. This was exciting because these young eels started life about 1,000 miles away in the Sargasso Sea.

American eels are economically important along the East Coast. They are caught by fishermen and sold as food or bait. Eels help the Atlantic coast ecosystem by eating dead fish, invertebrates, carrion and insects.

Dams and other barriers have caused eel populations to decline. The Cape Cod Water Resources Restoration Project is working to remove these barriers.

Abigail says these "elvers" are very good at making themselves look like sticks and other stream debris. They only got her attention when they started wriggling, so look closely in this video!

These eels will make their home in the pond for years and will not return to the ocean until they are ready to spawn at the end of their lives.