NYC Resources311Office of the Mayor

Press Releases

Thursday, April 20, 2017
No. 37


Malcolm Pinckney

Today, NYC Parks in partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Bronx River Alliance, and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection stocked the Bronx River with 400 alewife in efforts to restore a native migratory fish run in the city's largest freshwater river.

"Since 2001, the Bronx River Alliance has worked closely with NYC Parks and local communities to protect and restore its ecological, recreational, and educational value," said Maggie Scott Greenfield, Bronx River Administrator for NYC Parks and Executive Director of the Bronx River Alliance. "The return of alewife herring to the river will re-establish a critical link in the river's ecosystem, enabling species that depend on these fish to rebound as well. A restored river is also good for the Bronx communities it surrounds. As we learn about this slice of nature that flows through the heart of the Bronx, we are inspired by its beauty and the life it supports. This, in turn, motivates us to take action to keep our parks, rivers and neighborhoods clean and beautiful."

"We are thrilled to see the return of alewife to the Bronx River after over a decade of planning and hard work with our incredible partners without whom we would never have reached this milestone,” said Jennifer Greenfeld, NYC Parks Assistant Commissioner, Forestry, Horticulture & Natural Resources. “This success story shows the critical role nature plays in our region's ecosystem as well as the health and well-being of all citizens across the city."

“The return of the alewife herring is an important milestone for the ongoing effort to restore the Bronx River to its former state of natural health and beauty,” said Dr. Merry Camhi, Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Seascape Program. "We thank NYC Parks for helping to make this happen, and for working with WCS to monitor and restore American eels to the Bronx River as well."

This fish stocking builds upon an ongoing effort to re-establish a self-sustaining population of these native fish that serve as important food source for larger fish, birds and other wildlife in our ocean, estuaries and rivers. One recent successful step was NYC Parks’ construction of a fish ladder over the 182nd Dam to allow fish to migrate upstream to spawn. This decade long effort has culminated providing river herring with access to 12 acres of freshwater habitat that has been blocked for centuries. Just this week, alewife were documented using this fishway for the first time, marking the beginning of a local river herring population and new stage of ecosystem health in one of the nation’s most urbanized waterways.

The release is part of a partnership among a diverse group of elected officials, scientists, agencies, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations to restore the Bronx River.

Congressman José E. Serrano secured funding to study and implement a river herring restoration project on the Bronx River through a federal partnership grant to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the Bronx Zoo’s parent organization, from NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service. WCS in turn funded the Parks Department’s Natural Resource Group and Lehman College to implement and monitor the project. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CTDEEP) Inland Fisheries Division donated the fish, truck, and labor to trap and transport the fish for stocking.

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