The weather is warming, Spring is here, and the Wreck Pond team are back on-site for more fish sampling at the coastal lake located on the border of Spring Lake and Sea Girt, NJ.
Through the month of June we will be looking for adult river herring, a migratory fish that includes alewife and blueback, that lives much of its life in the ocean but spawns in places like Wreck Pond.
River herring are prey for important recreational and commercial species, such as cod, haddock, and striped bass.
These sampling events are conducted around the lunar cycles, every 12 hours for a 3½ day span. Sampling event #2 began Wednesday, March 30 and runs until the morning of Sunday, April 3. Sampling Event #3 will begin on the evening of Thursday, April 14 and continue through the morning of Monday, April 18. If you would like to participate or have questions, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com
Since 2006, river herring surveys have periodically been conducted at Wreck Pond to determine herring population within the surrounding watershed. Since 2014, each Spring and Fall, the Society and community volunteers have continued these fish surveys.
In 2016, the Littoral Society built a fish passage from the Atlantic Ocean to the 73-acre coastal lake. Construction of the fish passage was funded by U.S. Department of Interior through a $2.2 million grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Additional funding for the Wreck Pond project came from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, as part of the Flood Hazard Risk Reduction and Resiliency grant program, and the Borough of Spring Lake.
The passage — made from 600 feet of box culvert — is intended to improve water quality in the pond, provide better flood control to the surrounding area, and allow migratory fish to move into and out of the pond.
After installation of the fish passage we’ve seen favorable signs that population abundance is increasing within the watershed. However, with a limited data set, no firm conclusions can be drawn.
From the monitoring work we know adult river herring migrate into Wreck Pond to spawn between March-June, but are typically captured the most between April and May. This likely corresponds to favorable water temperatures that mark the beginning of their migration. Herring spend roughly 30 days in the watershed before returning to the ocean and we know that they move in schools, so we catch them in waves.
Aside from river herring data, we have also seen changes in other fish populations that we are monitoring. The ongoing project is funded by USFWS and we continue to look for additional funding to continue our work at Wreck Pond.