Herring on the run

Blueback herring on the Herring River, Wellfleet
Blueback herring on the Herring River, Wellfleet

The Herring River in Wellfleet runs through, adjacent to, or very close by many WCT properties. Most notably it forms the small valley beneath the new Herring River Overlook . It’s appropriate to honor the river together with this World Fish Migration Day.

The lilacs are blooming and the buttercups brighten the river banks, so the blueback herring are swimming upstream to spawn. We counted 89 in one ten-minute stretch this week.

The herring do surprisingly well, despite the constricted tidal flow in the river. Their biggest problem comes at the culverts. Fortunately for them, the one near our count site did not have a snapping turtle, raccoon, or crow waiting on the upstream side.

Culvert on the Herring River, to be enlarged as part of the project to restore the Herring River estuary.
Culvert on the Herring River, to be enlarged as part of the project to restore the Herring River estuary

We love seeing the herring. They tell us that the river, although damaged, is not dead.

A friend and neighbor says that she loves the herring, too, especially when they’re pickled with peppercorns and bay leaves, then served with onions. That was possible in the days when the river flowed freely. Our hope is that fishing, shellfishing, birdwatching, boating, and more can return when the river is restored.

Note: Portions of this article are cross-posted on chipbruce.net.

Join the Conservation Trust for an Earth Day walk

Come celebrate Earth Day, Friday, April 22 with the Wellfleet Conservation Trust.

We are offering a walk through a portion of the Fox Island Marsh & Pilgrim Springs Woodland Conservation Area at 10 a.m. Meet at the parking area off Baker Rd. in South Wellfleet.

The one-hour walk features the marsh and harbor views and background information on the area. This mildly challenging walk includes up and downhill terrain. Sturdy walking shoes are advised.