Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Division of Marine Fisheries
251 Causeway Street, Suite 400
Boston, MA 02114
Fax (617) 626.1509
June 6, 2006
A two-day event held on May 26th and 27th at the Mystic River Lakes succeeded in transferring over 4,000 river herring over the dam that separates the Mystic Lower Lake and Mystic Upper Lake. Hosted by the Medford Boat Club and the Division of Marine Fisheries (MarineFisheries) with support from the Mystic River Watershed Association, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the Office of Environmental Law Enforcement, volunteers of every age helped make this year’s bucket brigade a tremendous success. Cool weather during last year’s bucket brigade resulted in the movement of less than 200 river herring.
The 165-acres of spawning habitat in the Upper Lake is nearly double that available for spawning in the Lower Lake; the Mystic lakes provide spawning habitat for one of the larger river herring runs in Massachusetts Bay. However, fish cannot pass the six foot dam into the Mystic Upper Lake. The river herring’s drive to move upstream on their ancestral spawning run results in some fish suffering injury and mortality at the dam spillway. The bucket brigade was organized to garner interest and support for funding the dam reconstruction and to give some herring a lift to upstream spawning habitat. The young from these spawners hatch in just a few days then spend several months as juveniles in the Upper Lake before moving down to marine waters.
Many thanks to all the volunteers who came out, got wet, had fun and moved fish until their arms were sore.
From left to right: Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission member Chuck Casella lends a hand; DMF Fisheries Technician, Carolyn Woodhead, deposits a river herring into a bucket for transport.