Piping Plover can nest peacefully with the halt of construction at Wreck Pond. Work on 600-foot fish passage was curtailed after reaching 460 feet, because Plovers are known to nest on the beach near the project area in the spring and summer. Work to finish the fish passage will resume after Labor Day.
However, while the audible sound of construction has stopped, a new buzz of excitement has begun to grow among Littoral Society staff and volunteers as we await the incoming army of river herring.
Each spring, groups of river herring (colloquially know as an army) make their way up the Wreck Pond Brook Watershed to spawn. This year, the Society has expanded its fish sampling program to include a second fyke net in Black Creek and the use of PIT tags. PIT tags are tiny transponders that can be implanted within fish.
Like a fish EZPass, when a tagged fish swims over an antenna placed in the water, the tag number registers on a computer. In this way, Society scientists will be better able to track the movement of river herring within the watershed, providing a better understanding of river herring spawning habits. Eighteen alewife have already been captured this year, with eight tagged this week.
Thank you to Olaf Jensen of Rutgers University for his advice and technical expertise in helping us establish our PIT tagging program. We also want to recognize, Mario Hernandez, of Dr. Jensen’s lab, as Mario provided in field training on PIT tagging fishes, as well as guidance on setting up our instream antennas. The assistance of Dr. Jensen and his lab were invaluable to us, and we greatly appreciate their help.