The Town of North Hempstead and Supervisor Judi Bosworth announce that the Manhasset Bay Protection Committee and the Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee are looking for volunteers to be “Citizen Scientists” to help with a conservation project to monitor alewives, also called river herrings.
The committees have once again teamed up to host an alewife volunteer training for the Department of Environmental Conservation, which will take place on Thursday, March 2, at 5:30 p.m. at the Manhasset Public Library, 30 Onderdonk Ave. in Manhasset.
Once upon a time, Long Island tributaries supported spring runs of returning alewives. Now, alewives have been decimated by damns, habitat loss and declining water quality. Little is known about their status across Long Island.
It’s important to be a part of the 2017 Long Island Alewife Survey, because in doing so you’re helping the Alewife become an important part of Long Island waters again.
To become an alewife citizen scientist, volunteers with no prior alewife monitoring experience attend a one-hour training session to learn about alewife life cycle, ecological importance, identification, and survey protocol. At the session, volunteers can choose or be assigned to a creek to monitor near their home. These citizen scientists are then encouraged to make observations from set vantage points downstream of the first significant impediment to migration along the waterbody. From mid-March through late-May, volunteers will visit their designated waterbody at least once a week for a minimum of 15 minutes at a time. During their visit, they will record the date, weather conditions, water temperature, if fish are present or not, an estimate of how many fish are present, duration of their visit, and any notable evidence of alewives (i.e., scales or carcasses left on the creek bank by a predator).
Citizen scientists are encouraged to bring a camera or phone with them to take photos and videos of any alewife they may see. All of this information is then uploaded to an online database that is later accessed by biologists and researchers.
For questions, and to learn more about the issue, contact the event leader Victoria O’Neill, 631-444-0441 or the Town’s 311 Call Center by dialing 311 or 516-869-6311.
—Submitted by the Town of North Hempstead