Thirty-five eager herring counters attended a Herring Count Workshop, sponsored by Friends of Herring River, at the Wellfleet Library on March 22, 2019. State Senator Julian Cyr congratulated the group for their commitment to the project as we kicked off Wellfleet's 10th Anniversary of the Volunteer Herring Count Program. He also expressed his intention of becoming a volunteer herring counter, and his eagerness to see the progress of the planned restoration.
Dr. Barbara Brennessel, FHR Board member, moderated the meeting and walked the group through the counting protocol.
Dr. Jo Ann Muramoto, Director of Science Programs at APCC (Association to Preserve Cape Cod) and coordinator for Cape Cod Herring run data, presented a comparison of Wellfleet's run to other runs on Cape Cod and throughout the state. She also gave an update on the status of the proposed buffer zone for Atlantic Herring trawlers off the coast of Cape Cod.
Wellfleet Herring Warden, Dr. Ethan Estey, presented a virtual tour of the Herring River from Route 6 to its upper reaches.
Abigail Franklin Archer, Marine Educator for the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension described various herring run restoration projects on the Cape and in Plymouth. These projects included construction of fish ladders, removal of dams and decommissioning of cranberry bogs.
On Saturday, March 23rd, six volunteers helped to clear the path to the herring count site in the Herring River. With one portable hedge trimmer, and 5 loppers, the volunteers cleared a walking path to the old tree where the small plastic container of counting gear is stored. The water temperature was a bit cold, 6 degrees centigrade, suggesting we may have to wait a little bit longer to see fish running.
Reports from elsewhere on the Cape suggest that the river herring are starting to "run" so now we are ready for our first sighting. April 1 is the official start date for the volunteer count, but folks can check before then and let all the volunteers know if they see any scouts.