After remaking the way for fish, huge increases follow for migrating herring in Mass. river

The number of herring migrating to prime spawning grounds in Mass.’ Acushnet River has increased more than tenfold since we worked with partners to install stone “fishways” at two dams on the river! The project and funds came from a $20.2-million settlement for restoration in the New Bedford Harbor area. Our region worked with NOAA and the Commonwealth to reach the settlement through the natural resource damage assessment and restoration process for decades of pollution released into the harbor. Learn more.

NOAA's Response and Restoration Blog

A version of this story first appeared on the NOAA Restoration Center website on April 8, 2013.

In 2007, as part of a habitat restoration project, NOAA helped to install stone “fishways” at two dams on the Acushnet River in Massachusetts. These fishways, designed to more closely resemble conditions found in nature, are located in the river channel and allow migrating fish to gradually gain enough elevation to successfully pass over the dams.

Since construction, there has been an astounding 1,140% increase in migrating herring able to pass over the dams and access prime spawning grounds, according to data collected by the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries [PDF].

Migrating fish, including river herring and American eels, now have much better access to habitat all along the Acushnet River, which runs 8.5 miles from the spawning areas of the New Bedford Reservoir into New Bedford Harbor and empties into Buzzards Bay…

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