Fish Revival

Shad Return After 174-Year Absence




Hein Nouwens/Shutterstock.com

Following the removal two years ago of an obsolete dam in Manville, New Jersey, American shad are successfully spawning in the lower section of the Millstone River. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently observed juvenile fish there for the first time since 1845. American shad (Alosa sapidissima) are the largest member of the herring family and are anadromous, as they spend most of their lives in saltwater, but return to freshwater rivers each spring to spawn. They played an important role in American history and economics.

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe says, “This species has an inherent tendency to recolonize once obstacles are removed from its migratory path.” During the Industrial Revolution, rivers were dammed for electric power and lakes, but during the last decade, dam removal has become a new call to action. Besides preventing fish migrations, dams also harm water quality in rivers by blocking water flow, trapping sediment and changing habitats.


This article appears in the February 2019 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

Bringing Up Kitty

Adorable as new kittens are, they need the right conditions, from bedding to food to scratching surfaces—and a proper introduction to their new home—to thrive.

Loving Nature

In a time in which digital devices often rule, kids will happily head outdoors for adventures involving gardens, bugs and birds that spark their interest and creativity.

Potluck for the 21st Century

Using phone apps as well as workplace and neighborhood contacts, friends and strangers are coming together to share healthy, home-cooked meals.

Household Cleaning Products Affect Babies’ Guts and Weight

Canadian toddlers in households that used chemical disinfectants at least once a week had disturbed gut microbes and higher body mass index scores than toddlers in households that used vinegar or other eco-friendly cleaners.

Smoking Bans Lower Blood Pressure

Non-smokers in areas that have banned smoking in public space have lower systolic blood pressure.

Add your comment: