Why? Because you may think it is a lifeless ditch that should be culverted. You will find that it is full of many species of fish and you may suddenly appreciate and protect it more.
Example: The Sing Sing Kill in Ossining, NY was thought to have a single species. We documented nine under a NYS DEC grant!
Why? Because the American eel population is declining rapidly and because it is an important food source for the bigger fish. Eels live in freshwater streams for their entire lives of 20 or more years before returning to the Sargasso Sea in the Atlantic Ocean to reproduce and die. We need to understand more about their habits and habitat needs to restore the population.
Example: HVSC has collaborated with the Wildlife Conservation Society and Queens College to measure, weigh and tag eels in the Hutchinson and Saw Mill Rivers in Westchester County. We have demonstrated the negative effect of dams on their migrating.
Why? Alewife and Blueback Herring live in the ocean and migrate annually back to their streams of birth to spawn before returning to the ocean. These fish are critical components of the food chain that sustain commercial fisheries. Their populations are dwindling in part because dams and poorly designed culverts along the stream prevent their reaching spawning Habitat. We are working to remove unneeded dams, build fish ladders over dams and replace culverts with types that allow fish passage.
Example: HVSC has partnered with Westchester under a NYS DEC grant to remove the Pelham Dam on the Hutchinson River and documented the first alewife in the Hutchinson River since the 1800’s. See NYS DEC : Blog Link
Example 2: HVSC initiated local legislation in Ossining, NY requiring all culverts and dams in class A,B and C streams to be passable by migrating fish according to NYS DEC guidelines. This was the first such local law in NY State. More Details