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

Gardening for Kids

Give kids a patch of dirt and a trowel, and they’ll not only have fun but can find a fresh new appetite for fruit and vegetables.

Toxic Legacy

Women in growing numbers are joining together to deal with the long-term, serious health threats posed by saline and silicone implants.

Plants Talk

Plants may not be raising an audible ruckus, but scientists are finding they communicate silently with each other through smells, hearing and underground networks.

Dancing Prevents Senior Decline

Elderly Japanese women who danced for exercise were 73 percent less likely to be impaired eight years later doing “activities of daily living” such as walking, cooking, dressing and bathing.

U.S. Heart Disease on the Rise

An estimated 48 percent of American adults have cardiovascular disease, but about 80 percent of the time the disease can be prevented with precautionary medical care and lifestyle changes.

Add your comment: