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Webinar: Rutgers Raritan River Consortium Webinar

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Tuesday, 30 November 2021, 9:00

Tuesday, November 30, 2021. 9:00 AM. Webinar: Rutgers Raritan River Consortium Webinar. Julie Lockwood and Thomas Grothues, Rutgers University; Isabelle Stinette, NY-NJ Harbor and Estuary Program. Sponsored by the Rutgers River Consortium. Register here.

Thomas Grothues, Associate Research Professor, Marine & Coastal Sciences, Rutgers - Fish assemblage of the Raritan Thalweg. We describe spatial and seasonal dynamics of the fish assemblage of the navigable Raritan River from South Amboy Reach at the confluence with Raritan Bay at South Amboy (River Mile 0) to the Albany Street Bridge (Raritan Ave) off Rutgers New Brunswick (River Mile 12). We targeted primary settled juvenile and small adult fish from eight otter trawl stations in the thalweg over the course of one year. Only bay anchovy, a ubiquitous planktivorous species, and occasionally white perch, a resident predator of small fish and invertebrates, were abundant, but more than a dozen other fish species were collected at least once, and blue crabs, an important and mobile macroinvertebrate species, were also abundant.

Julie Lockwood, Professor and Chair, Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources, Rutgers - Using environmental DNA to track the recovery of shad and other fish after dam removal on the Raritan. Mid- Atlantic populations of river herring (Alosa pseudoharengus, alewife, and A. aestivalis, blueback herring) have declined precipitously in recent years. River herring are listed as “Species of Special Concern” by the National Marine Fisheries Service. With over 1,700 dams in New Jersey, barriers to spawning migration are significant impediments to restoring river herring populations. Over the past seven years, four major dams have been removed within the Raritan River watershed, aiming to improve fish passage and restore freshwater spawning habitat for river herring (the Calco dam in 2011; the Roberts Street dam in 2012; the Nevius Street dam in 2013; and an additional dam on the Millstone River in 2017). Given all this investment in dam removal, we must effectively evaluate the success of such efforts. Environmental DNA (eDNA) has recently emerged as a powerful tool for surveying rare fish species.

Isabelle Stinnette, Restoration Program Manager, NY-NJ Harbor and Estuary Program - Restoring aquatic habitat through climate-ready infrastructure. Aquatic connectivity is a key restoration goal for the New York – New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program (HEP) and its partners. Inadequately sized, positioned, or blocked culverts or other stream crossings can be a seasonal or year-round barrier to aquatic species, fragmenting habitat and disconnecting the natural flow of organisms, material, nutrients and energy along the river system. This loss of stream connectivity is a critical threat to valuable and already vulnerable species such as the native Eastern brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), the American eel (Anguilla rostrata) and river herring (Alosa spp.). HEP is partnering with the R3C to assess over 375 road-stream crossing in the lower Raritan basin and bay region through 2022 to inform improved connectivity.

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