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Building a River Herring Network on Cape Cod, MA

Funding for this project was provided by MassBays to Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen's Association (2011 and 2012)

About the project

With funding from the MassBays grant program, in 2011 the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen's Alliance (formerly the Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen's Association) partnered with the Town of Wellfleet Herring Warden to build capacity among Cape Cod and South Shore wardens through the creation of an interactive and collaborative River Herring Warden Network. The goal of restoring river herring to rivers in Massachusetts a key drivers for this effort. Recognizing the need for better coordination and communication among the various town herring wardens, the project team built an informative and comprehensive but easy to navigate website for the wardens to share information. The website also includes an online forum for informal discussions. The River Herring Warden Network website includes infrastructure to link volunteers and advocates to wardens and projects that need assistance. 

Herring Warden Network. CCCHFA. Mass Bays Research & Planning Grant 2012

Concomitant with the development of this extensive network, the team also developed a set of best management practices (BMPs) that will help herring wardens in the proper management of the waterways within their jurisdiction to enable the return and/or enhancement of river herring in these rivers.

In order to continue building on the success of this effort and to empower herring wardens to be more effective in coastal habitat enhancement necessary for the recovery of river herring populations, the Association received funds through the 2012 Research and Planning grant. Besides convening quarterly meetings for wardens, count organizers, and volunteers, the project team refined the BMP guidance document and explored opportunities to expand the network to include Metro Boston and North Shore communities. 

The River Herring Network steering committee reached out to several north shore towns to assess the feasibility of expanding the network to other regions. Some towns, including Essex and Ipswich expressed interested in utilizing the resources developed and considered participating at the south shore and Cape Cod meetings to eventually conduct meetings on the north shore. The team looks to provide interested towns with website access and capabilities to create their own town page on www.riverherringnetwork.com