Everything was in place for a spectacular season for Wellfleet volunteer herring counters. Our annual Herring Count workshop was scheduled for March 17 and we were about to share river herring natural history and a ten-year data set. But days before our kick-off meeting, a devious virus interrupted our well-laid plans. The Wellfleet library closed, meetings were cancelled, and the herring count was up in the air. Anecdotal reports indicated a very early run; river herring were seen in the last weeks of March while our permit for volunteer participation in our herring count from the National Park Service was put on hold.
With new protocols that assured social distancing, no more than one person or family unit at a time, and no direct contact with equipment, the Cape Cod National Seashore allowed us to resume volunteer herring counts after the first week in April. We have over 30 volunteers, an unprecedented number. Captain Richard Bailey, one of our volunteers, rigged up a real time temperature logger so that no one needs to touch a thermometer or dip one into the River.
The herring are running and we are able to get some very important data for our sponsor, the Mass Bays Program, represented by the Cape by the Association for Preservation of Cape Cod (APCC). The data is funneled into the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries , which keeps tabs on all state herring runs.
With the record numbers of volunteers in 2020, and increased interest in the Herring River as we prepare for restoration, we look forward to thinking about a more "normal" herring count in 2021.
Preview of May Event:
Virtual Tour Will Showcase Rich History of Bound Brook Island
Because we cannot offer guided walks for enjoyment of the Herring River as a Herring River Month event, Friends of Herring River created a Virtual Walk of Bound Brook Island. The video tour is 32 minutes long. The link to the virtual walk will be available soon. Stay tuned!
Herring River Needs Your Help
While the world is going through challenging times dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, there remains one constant in all of our lives: nature continues to provide a welcome respite and solace from the ongoing anxiety that many of us are facing.
Here on Cape Cod, the Herring River and its watershed is one of our most critical natural assets.
The river continues to sustain people, provides a place to enjoy the outdoors and offers welcome relief from the requirements of social distancing.
But, our river needs your help.
If we want the river to be there for us when the world is restored to normal, we must continue our urgent work to restore the health of the Herring River.
Friends of Herring River is working hard every day to restore the vitality of Herring River for its value to people and nature by supporting scientific research and monitoring and sharing information to educate the public about the critical restoration work that is needed.
You can make a difference here on the Outer Cape by supporting Friends of Herring River, the leading proponent for the Herring River restoration project in Wellfleet and Truro and for promoting the recreational enjoyment of the revived river.
Please join us. Your contribution in any amount is welcome. Become a Family Friend of Herring River by making an annual donation of $250.00. Your contributions will be put to effective use and thank you for any support you can provide.
Credit Card: NETWORK FOR GOOD will process your online credit card donation immediately.
Check: Make your check payable to Friends of Herring River and send to:
Friends of Herring River
P.O. Box 565
South Wellfleet, MA 02663
Friends of Herring River is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.