mcnar

Question About Herring Runs (South Shore)

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Hi all, I’m trying to learn what I can about herring runs(on the south shore specifically) and I have some questions.

 

I’ve found maps and resources which show known herring runs, but I’m  curious if these are the only spots where herring head upstream to spawn or if there are other more minor runs that wouldn’t be labeled or known.  


I’ve been looking on google maps for any freshwater sources that connect to the ocean- can it be assumed that there might be some amount of herring traveling up any of these spots as long as they are unobstructed? If not, why? 
 

As for specific examples, I cannot find any sources about runs at Island Creek in Duxbury, or Green Harbor River in Marshfield. These seem, to me, to be ideal locations for runs, so I’m curious why I might be wrong in my thinking that they are.

 

Thanks in advance!

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I can't answer your question directly, but I will say there are several ad hoc working herring groups in SE Ma.  They're an informal group of volunteers who's duties inc:

Cleaning and maintaining the runs in preparation for the herring's return. They also do visual herring' counts, and even patrol the runs to report poaching.  One such organization is Alewives Anonymous. They're still active, and I still get email updates from them.

 

As for the smaller, unknown runs, sadly many are gone. Extinct.  We lost two runs right in my town (Bourne).  In spite of all our efforts, the runs failed.

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5 hours ago, mcnar said:

Hi all, I’m trying to learn what I can about herring runs(on the south shore specifically) and I have some questions.

 

I’ve found maps and resources which show known herring runs, but I’m  curious if these are the only spots where herring head upstream to spawn or if there are other more minor runs that wouldn’t be labeled or known.  


I’ve been looking on google maps for any freshwater sources that connect to the ocean- can it be assumed that there might be some amount of herring traveling up any of these spots as long as they are unobstructed? If not, why? 
 

As for specific examples, I cannot find any sources about runs at Island Creek in Duxbury, or Green Harbor River in Marshfield. These seem, to me, to be ideal locations for runs, so I’m curious why I might be wrong in my thinking that they are.

 

Thanks in advance!

Here’s some info about island creek:


The marshfield run that I know of is in veterans park- there are probably others.

 

I’m not sure if this link will work, but it shows some of the runs along the south shore.  If that link doesn’t work google north and south river watersheds association and go a little ways down- there’s a link that opens in google maps showing some of the run locations.

 

https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=1D2JonAB_pDjEMtPDkf4bRl_CZhtjueDY&ll=42.06765963648049%2C-70.90225504021794&z=10

 

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2 hours ago, Fitzy said:

I’m not sure if this link will work, but it shows some of the runs along the south shore. 

 

That’s one of the maps I’d been looking at - as you can see island creek doesn’t show up on it, so I’m wondering what the requirements are. Is island creek maybe no longer an active run? Thanks for the video btw 

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3 hours ago, bob_G said:

As for the smaller, unknown runs, sadly many are gone. Extinct.  We lost two runs right in my town (Bourne).  In spite of all our efforts, the runs failed.

Thanks for the info, it’s sad to learn of all the runs that are no more. Is it feasible or even possible to stock defunct spawning grounds to restart old runs? 

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We have some small pretty much unknown runs in the Hingham, Hull area that herring , smelt used to run in and now they dont ! A few are comming back with the hard work of volunteers from the North&South rivers association! They spend countless hours day and night counting herring in the spring . And some times its less than 50 ! They keep the water flowing to these old fish ladders clearing brush , and whatever they need to do !

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14 mins ago, HanoverStriper said:

I counted for the NSRWA for many years. Haven't the last couple, but know most of the active runs in Scituate, Hanover, Pembroke area. This should give you a pretty good idea:

 

https://www.nsrwa.org/get-involved/citizen-science/river-herring-counts/

Awesome, thanks! Maybe I’ll see if I can help count this coming spring..

 

And for anyone following, I found a great report, albeit from 2004, by the Mass. Division of Marine Fisheries which goes which goes into the state of many of Massachusetts’ coastal streams - I’m not sure if I can post links here so just google “A Survey of Anadromous Fish Passage in Coastal Massachusetts”

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16 mins ago, mcnar said:

Awesome, thanks! Maybe I’ll see if I can help count this coming spring..

 

And for anyone following, I found a great report, albeit from 2004, by the Mass. Division of Marine Fisheries which goes which goes into the state of many of Massachusetts’ coastal streams - I’m not sure if I can post links here so just google “A Survey of Anadromous Fish Passage in Coastal Massachusetts”

They're always looking for help if you're interested.

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I was a volunteer for over 20 years in Bourne. I ended up becoming an assistant herring agent.

I found it to be very rewarding.  Back then, the DMF seemed far more willing to work and cooperate with local towns.  We worked with DMF biologist Ken Rebeck . 

Work on the Bournedale run would begin in March. Walking the entire run in waders, and removing trash and winter tree damage. This could easily take several days.

One day each spring I'd take a day off from work, and help the DMF set and calibrate the fish counter behind the motel.

My old friend and Ma forum member Capecodder and I put in a Herculean effort in attempting to rebuild the Red Brook run in Pocasset. Using plans supplied by Ken Rebeck, and funds Capecodder received through a grant,  we built two 12' wooden ladder and placed then in the run below the rr tracks. The old ladders had failed, and herring were only able to get up the run during a brief window at high tide.   It was a huge job, with marginal success. But winter ice crushed the wooden ladders after a couple years.

As far as I'm concerned, that run is extinct. But the DMF claims some herring still use it, but I never see any.  Unfortunately that run was once as prolific as both the Wareham and Bournedale runs.

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