Local Students Help With Estuary Program

NEW WINDSOR – Students from the Newburgh Rowing Club Development Team joined the Quassaick Creek Watershed Alliance, in the Quassaick creek to count glass eels, said Juliana LoBiondo, a Volunteer with the Newburgh Rowing Club. The eel Counting project is part of the NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program and the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve, in partnership with the Water Resources Institute at Cornell University.

According to the DEC, the American eel (Anguilla rostrata), a migratory fish, is born in the Atlantic Ocean and enters North American estuaries, including the Hudson River, as tiny, see-through “glass eels” each spring. Once they arrive, they soon gain pigment and become part of the ecosystem for years to come. The species is in decline over much of its range, and baseline studies, like the Hudson River Eel Project, of populations are crucial for management decisions.

The eel project is coordinated by the NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program and the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve, in partnership with the Water Resources Institute at Cornell University. During this project, teams of scientists, students, and community members collect glass eels using specialized nets and traps on Hudson River tributaries each spring. The juvenile fish are counted, weighed, and released, and other environmental data is recorded. At the end of each season the data is compiled and sent along to decision-makers.

The project directly involves students and volunteers with scientific design and field methodology. Participants experience their local ecosystem firsthand, and collect important information and relevant data about migrating fish.

“The girls were very excited, they collected over 1,100 glass eels,” said LoBiondo. “We had been told that the day before only eight had been collected so they were very excited to collect over 1000 glass eels and to be part of this great project.”

For more information, visit: www.dec.ny.gov/lands

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