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For Release: Friday, May 13, 2016

World Fish Migration Day Events in the Hudson Valley

Connecting Fish, Rivers, and People across the Globe

In celebration of World Fish Migration Day, a global initiative to create awareness about the importance of open rivers and migratory fish, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) Hudson River Estuary Program and Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve are offering three public events in Dutchess County on May 20 and May 21. More than 300 events are scheduled world-wide.

"New York is home to significant habitat that is critical to the life cycle of many migratory fish species, and I encourage all residents to participate in these upcoming events in celebration of World Fish Migration Day," said DEC Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Our citizen-based research and community involvement are essential to learn about these unique animals and help guide our conservation and stewardship efforts."

World Fish Migration Day Events:

Eel Count: Friday, May 20, 4 p.m., Fall Kill Creek, Poughkeepsie

The Eel Count will take place on the Fallkill between the Mid-Hudson Children's Museum and Upper Landing Park, which can be accessed by taking the elevator from the Walkway over the Hudson. DEC and Research Reserve education coordinator Chris Bowser will help volunteers, count, weigh, and then release the tiny eels upstream. This is the final eel count of the season and is part of an international count at locations in Europe and the U.S.

This event highlights DEC's annual citizen scientists Hudson River juvenile American eel tracking program. Now in its ninth year, the project has seen a great expansion in the number of volunteers and organizational support, with support from the NYS Water Resources Institute at Cornell University and dozens of partners from schools to non-profit organizations to private residents. From early March until May, approximately 500 students, teachers, college interns, and community volunteers check nets and mops at different sites including: Hannacroix Creek in New Baltimore (Greene County); Saw Kill in Annandale-on-Hudson (Dutchess County); Black Creek in Esopus (Ulster County); Fall Kill in Poughkeepsie (Dutchess County); Quassaick Creek in Newburgh (Orange County); Indian Brook in Cold Spring (Putnam County); Furnace Brook in Cortlandt (Westchester County); Minisceongo Creek in West Haverstraw (Rockland County); Yonkers waterfront (Westchester County); and Richmond Creek in Staten Island (NYC). A new study site was added this year at the Indian Kill in Staatsburg (Dutchess County), where in-depth studies of older, resident eels and emigrating, mature adult eels were conducted as graduate research by SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry student Sarah Mount. Data collected on incoming glass eels will improve understanding of how all freshwater life-stages of the American eel use one stream.

Volunteers include a wide-range of students, environmental professionals, and community residents who are trained in basic protocols to assure good data is collected. As part of their work, volunteers also monitor river herring that migrate into tributaries to spawn. Classroom visits by DEC educators help bring the project alive to hundreds of students. Eel collection takes place at most sites daily through mid-May.

Interested press may arrange a site visit at any of the streams listed with Chris Bowser, Science Educator with the NYSDEC Hudson River Research Reserve and Estuary Program, at (845) 264-5041 or chris.bowser@dec.ny.gov.

Photos, sampling schedules, and a list of partners for all sites are available. For information, please visit the Citizen Science: American Eel Research webpage on DEC's website.

"Fishing the River" Free Fishing: Saturday, May 21, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., at the Norrie Point Environmental Center in Staatsburg

DEC staff will provide fishing activities while describing the seasonal movements of fish in the Hudson River Estuary. Participants are encouraged to grab a rod and angle for fish off of the wheelchair accessible patio. Rods, reels, and bait will be available at no charge. For directions to the Norrie Point Environmental Center, please visit DEC's website.

"The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Conserving Migratory Fish in the Hudson River Estuary," Saturday, May 21, 3 p.m. - 4:30 p.m., Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum Visitor Center

This talk on eel migration is part of the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt NHS Natural Resource Lecture and Program Series. For additional event details and registration, please visit the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt NHS Natural Resource Lecture & Program Series: "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly event webpage. (Link leaves DEC's website.)

The Hudson River estuary is home to more than 220 species of fish, including several species such as herring, shad, sturgeon, and eels that migrate from the Atlantic Ocean up the river and its tributaries to spawn each spring. Migratory fish are important ecologically, economically, and culturally, but global populations of migratory fish are in decline. To learn more about this worldwide celebration of fish conservation here, visit the World Fish Migration Day website. (Link leaves DEC's website.)

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