Hello everyone and Happy New Year!!! The Wreck Pond team would like to wish everyone a very happy and healthy New Year. We all are looking forward to a new start and all that is to come in 2021.
The team continued working through the Fall and into Winter monitoring for any unique movements in the colder months. We pulled the seine net twice, once in November and once in December. Novembers pull did not yield anything unique or unexpected, however, Decembers pull was quite the contrary.
As we shuffled through the silver sides, we came across two specimen that made us do a double-take. Here they are below:
When ever we catch something that could be a river herring, we get really excited. At first glance, we thought Fish 1 on the left could be an alewife, but after further investigation, it was determined Fish 1 was an Atlantic Menhaden. They were spotted running in the surf and this juvenile likely got pushed through the pipe into the pond.
Fish 2, however, was quite different. It didn't fully resemble the juvenile alewife we've caught previously, but certainly appeared to be in the herring family. It is potential this is a Blueback river herring, something we have not seen in years at the pond. It is not 100%, but the unique catches this winter are exciting, and have encouraged the team to continue winter pulls once per month throughout the 2021 winter season.
Aside from winter seining, the team was excited to see the completion of the Old Mill Dam Fish Ladder Project. The ladder itself was installed in late August, however, the rock diversion to help lead migrating herring to the base of ladder has not been installed. Well, as of December 22, the diversion is in and will be ready for the 2021 migration!
The team continues to push through and genuinely cannot wait to keep working hard to restore Wreck Pond. We have lots of exciting plans in 2021 and hope you continue on the journey with us.
Be well, stay safe, and healthy, and Happy New Year!
For more information on the Wreck Pond project, please visit www.littoralsociety.org for more information or contact Julie Schumacher, Habitat Restoration Technician: email@example.com
During these difficult times, the Wreck Pond team has made an effort to create virtual content of the work they do at Wreck Pond to continue engaging and involving the community. In response to these changing times, the team has created the 3 Part 'Restoring Wreck Pond' video series. These videos overview the Wreck Pond Restoration Project, the sampling that has been conducted, the Wreck Pond citizen science program, and now, the Old Mill Dam fish ladder. Each video is roughly 5-6 minutes. Below, you will find each of the 3 educational videos including the exciting bonus video overviewing the installation and completion of the Old Mill Dam Fish Ladder. We hope you enjoy !
Part 1: Restoring Wreck Pond - This Video overviews the Wreck Pond Restoration Project and the installation of the 600ft fish passage box culvert that was installed in 2016.
Part 2: Fish Sampling and Monitoring - This video overviews both the spring and fall fish sampling that has been conducted at Wreck Pond post-construction of the fish passage box culvert.
Part 3: Wreck Pond Citizen Science Monitoring Program - This video acts as a virtual training for the citizen science monitoring program.
BONUS VIDEO: Old Mill Dam Fish Ladder - This video documents the installation and completion of the Old Mill Dam Fish Ladder furthering migrating fish species access to spawning habitat within the Wreck Pond Brook watershed.
The American Littoral Society is thrilled to announce the installation and completion of the Old Mill Dam Fish Ladder ! It has been a long time in the making, but the Wreck Pond team is elated to share this exciting news of the continuation and ongoing effort to restore Wreck Pond.
Now, instead of Old Mill Dam acting as the furthest migration destination for Alewife and Blueback river herring, these fish now have the ability to navigate up the dam through the fish ladder and utilize roughly an additional mile of optimal spawning habitat. The American Littoral Society will add the Old Mill Dam fish ladder and newly accessible spawning habitat into its ongoing river herring monitoring surveys.
We've gone solar!
As many of you are aware, we use passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags to monitor the alewife that make their way into Wreck Pond each year to spawn. Tagged fish are tracked using antennas positioned throughout the pond and larger watershed. Each antenna is powered by 2-4 marine 12volt batteries. Because of the power demands of the antennas, these batteries need to be replaced each week. The old batteries are then charged to be reused the following week. At around 50lbs each, moving and swapping batteries is not easy feat. And the task becomes even more daunting when you have 6 or 7 antennas going!
This year, to alleviate some of that work, reduce our time in the field, and become more eco friendly, we incorporated solar panels into our antenna set up. The panels charge our batteries in the field while they are powering the antennas. This has extended the life of our charged batteries and allowed for fewer battery swaps.
While we cannot yet conduct our spring fish sampling, in the next week we will be restarting our PIT tagging antennas. To prevent contact, staff will be assigned individual antennas to monitor once a week. Hopefully, we will detect some repeat spawners, as each year we typically catch several alewife that were tagged the previous year and have returned to Wreck Pond once again to reproduce. Let's hope that trend continues! Stayed tuned for weekly updates on the PIT tagging results. Some underwater camera footage is in the works as well.
A PIT tagging computer.
An addition is coming to Old Mill Dam. Later this spring, we will be installing a fish ladder over the Old Mill Dam spillway. Our PIT tagging work has shown that, currently, alewife reach the bottom of the dam during their spring spawning runs. The installation of the ladder will make available almost a mile of extra, good spawning habitat. The ladder will be an Alaskan steeppass design (see image below). After construction, we plan to install additional PIT tagging antennas on the fish ladder to assess its utilization by alewife. We are currently waiting for permit approval from the NJDEP, and anticipate construction to start end of March or April. This project is the result of collaboration with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Additionally, Wall Township, The Mill Lakeside Manor, and Atlantic Lifts, Dock & Bulkhead have been instrumental in getting the project to this stage. Stay tuned for more information as we get closer to the anticipated construction time period.
We spent the morning seining at Wreck Pond. The temperatures were low, the winds were gusting, and the water was flowing; but we braved the elements and pulled our seine net in the name of science. We didn't catch much, just a handful of Atlantic silversides. Yet, even so, these data will help us better quantify the assemblage of fish found in Wreck Pond during these winter months. Despite the weather, fun was had by all including a new volunteer (she picked quite the day to start) and our trusty staff morale officer, Manny, sporting his winter coat.
Welcome to winter seining. This year we are expanding our normal seine sampling to include the winter months. Typically, we seine once a week between the months of June and November to try to catch migrating juvenile alewife leaving Wreck Pond for the Atlantic Ocean. However, this year, we will continue to seine once or twice a month through February. The goal behind this additional work is to get a better idea of the winter assemblage of fish found in Wreck Pond. Our first seine event took place yesterday. We caught lots of Atlantic silversides, a handful of very small summer flounder and spotted hake, a larger winter flounder, and one sand eel.
Ammodytes americanus or sand eel is a small lance shaped fish common in the Western North Atlantic. They primarily feed on plankton. Towards dusk, sand eels will bury themselves in the sand likely as a way to avoid predators such as striped bass and bluefish.