Mystic River Herring Education Project

Simply put, we have found that people love herring. We wanted to bring this largely out of sight and unnoticed right of spring to a larger audience and thus the Mystic River Herring Education Project was born.

This project connects people, including local students, to the remarkable river herring migration and the science behind it using technology, data gathering and visualization, and school engagement. Building off of the success of the Herring Monitoring Program, in which eighty trained citizen scientists document the herring migration at the Upper Mystic Lake Dam each spring, the Mystic River Watershed Association uses technology to broadcast and learn more about the herring migration.

The Mystic River Watershed Association worked with the MA-DCR and MA-DMF to install the underwater video camera at the Upper Mystic Lake Dam in April 2017.

The first step was to install an underwater video camera at the DCR Upper Mystic Lake dam in Medford, which required the design, building and implementation of the structure to house the camera and funnel the fish within range of the camera. A second video camera will be in place at Winchester Center Falls dam in 2018.

The camera is triggered by motion and set to record for no more than 60 seconds at a time. Short videos are then sent to the cloud and rerouted to this website, where users can play the role of citizen scientist and record the number of herring viewed in the short video.

A view of the underwater video camera in the box, about to be placed along the Mystic Lakes dam fish ladder.

A view of the underwater video camera in the box, about to be placed along the Mystic Lakes dam fish ladder.

Additionally, Mystic River Watershed Association staff is partnering with K-12 schools to provide hands-on science surrounding this major wildlife migration. During the first year of the project the Mystic River Watershed Association is working with classrooms in Medford, Melrose, East Boston, Somerville, Wakefield and Winchester. Teachers will develop related curriculum to be shared via the teacher resource page - downloadable for teachers anywhere to implement. Students will perform herring counts, develop critical thinking skills, improve environmental literacy, and participate in stewardship opportunities through both classroom engagement and field trips to the fish ladder.

Goals of the project include:

  • increased awareness and appreciation of the river herring migration in the Mystic River Watershed
  • expanded data collection to inform estimates of and behavior during the river herring migration in the Mystic River Watershed
  • improved environmental literacy among the students we reach

For more information contact herring.education@mysticriver.org

 

Thank you to our supporters & PARTNERS

This project is generously funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Drane Family Fund, The Boston Foundation, and ERM Group Foundation, Inc.

Project partners include the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).