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Aquatic Life

Distribution and Number of Fish Sampled on the Bronx River


As part of an effort to evaluate the potential factors that explain the absence of anadromous fish in the Bronx River, Lehman College researchers gathered data on fish currently in the river system.

Anadromous fish have an important place in the ecology and cultural history of Northeast rivers. These were key species in the fishing industry at one time and remain an important energy source throughout the food chain in the river systems where they flourish. Further, their populations vary in response to a range of environmental factors and processes, and thus their presence is one indication of ecological health.

Today, populations of anadromous fish are drastically reduced from historic levels and continue to decline in many locations in the Northeast. The effort being made to reverse this trend focuses, in part, on protecting and expanding habitat for these species throughout their potential range.

Information on recreationally important aquatic species sampled by Lehman College.

Lehman College Fish Sampling Sites

Lehman Fish Sampling Sites

Distribution and number of fish sampled on the Bronx River 2002, 2003 by Lehman College

Estuary River Station

Date Count Scientific Name Common Name
Jun - Dec 2002 1 Alosa aestivalis Blueback Herring
1 Alosa mediocris Hickory Shad
Mar - Jun 2003 291 Anchoa mitchelli Bay Anchovy
12 Brevoortia tyrannus Atlantic Menhaden
2 Dorosoma cepedianum Gizzard Shad
2 Fundulus heteroclitus Mummichog
4 Menidia menidia Atlantic Silverside
49 Morone saxatilis Striped Bass
2 Myoxocephalus scorpius Shorthorn Sculpin
3 Peprilus triacanthus Butterfish
16 Pseudopleuronectes americanus Urophycis regia Winter Flounder
11 Urophycis regia Spotted Hake

Lafayette Ave Station

Date Count Scientific Name Common Name
Jun - Oct 2002 1 Apeltes quadracus Fourspine Stickleback
May 2003 215 Brevoortia tyrannus Atlantic mendahen
54 Fundulus heteroclitus Mummichog
8 Gobiosoma bosci Naked Goby
37 Menidia menidia Atlantic Silverside
4 Morone saxatilis Striped Bass
1 Myxocephalus scorpius Shorthorn Sculpin

Drew Gardens Station

Date Count Scientific Name Common Name
Mar - Jul 2003 52 Apeltes quadracus Fourspine Stickleback
17 Anguilla rostrata American Eel
1 Catostomus commersoni White Sucker
12 Etheostoma olmstedi Tesselated Darter
16 Fundulus heteroclitus Mummichog
1 Rhinichthys atratulus Blacknose Dace

Tremont Ave Station

Date Count Scientific Name Common Name
Mar - Apr 2003 1 Anguilla rostrata American Eel
1 Apeltes quadracus Fourspine Stickleback
3 Etheostoma olmstedi Tesselated Darter
1 Fundulus heteroclitus Mummichog

181st Street Station

Date Count Scientific Name Common Name
March 2003 10 Apeltes quadracus Fourspine Stickleback
16 Etheostoma olmstedi Tesselated Darter
1 Micropterus dolomieui Smallmouth bass
2 Rhinichthys atratulus Blacknose dace

Downstream of Bronx Zoo Dam Station

Date Count Scientific Name Common Name
June 2003 7 Apeltes quadracus Mummichog
42 Catostomus commersoni White Sucker
2 Etheostoma olmstedi Tesselated Darter
2 Etheostoma sp. Unknown Darter
26 Fundulus heteroclitus Fourspine Stickleback
3 Lepomis macrochirus Bluegill Sunfish
5 Rhinichthys atratulus Blacknose Dace

Tremont Ave Station

Date Count Scientific Name Common Name
Jun-Jul 2003 6 Apeltes quadracus Fourspine Stickleback
18 Etheostoma olmstedi Tesselated Darter
22 Fundulus heteroclitus Mummichog
10 Rhinichthys atratulus Blacknose Dace


From June 2002 until September 2003, Lehman College sampled by boat at the mouth of the river, and in tidal reaches to help identify which species are present in the river and approach the dams. Multiple freshwater stations were sampled upstream and downstream of the dams beginning in June 2002. Sampling for fish prey items was conducted at all sites.

In the estuary, fish were caught using a 12-foot wide Shrimp Trawl with #9 (1 1/2 inch) stretch mesh body and #15 (1 1/4 inch) stretch mesh cod end bag, 3/8 inch by 100-foot length tow lines (to provide a 3:1 line out to depth ratio) and 12x24 inch doors run off the stern deck of the "Privateer", towed at an average speed of 2.0 knots between the mouth and Lafayette Avenue. Tows were run both up-river and down-river, when run down-river trawls were pulled at a velocity faster than the current velocity.

Shore sampling of fish and invertebrates involved the use of a 4x4 foot push seine, with 1/4 inch stretched nylon mesh. The net was set just offshore and fish were scared into it by people stomping in from the shore or the net was pushed through the near-shore vegetation and bank overhangs. In the lower estuary, a 4x10 foot seine was used. Here, the depth was four feet and a standard semicircular path to the shore was followed.

Minnow traps were also used for near-shore sampling. These were placed randomly within the specified locations.

Station Latitude and Longitude

Bx River Estuary Mouth to Lafayette Ave., Trawl.
40°48.445'N:73°52.045'W to 40°49.053'N:73°52.814'W

Lafayette Avenue

Soundview Park

East Tremont Avenue 40°50.43'N:073°52.66'W

Drew Gardens

Sculpture Garden, 177th Street

Bx Zoo, Base of Bronxdale Waterfall

NYBG, Snuff Mill Bridge


  • Trawl: 12' #9 (1 1/2 inch) Stretch mesh body, #15 (1 1/4 inch) stretch mesh cod end bag, 3/8" X 100' tow lines to 12 X 24' doors. It is a commercial Shrimp Trawl purchased from Nylon Net Co. This net is towed at a vessel speed of 2 knots behind SUNY's RV Privateer.
  • Fish Traps: Standard Steel Minnow & Shrimp Traps, and Collapsible Fish Traps from Nylon Net Co.
  • Push Net: 4' square Seine with 1/4 inch Stretched Nylon Mesh. Built to J. Rachlin's own design.


Download Fish Sampling data (Excel file, 26 KB)


Rachlin, Warkentine & Pappantoniou, Lehman College Laboratory for Marine & Estuarine Research (La MER)

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