In 2013, 33 miles of fish passage were restored. This brings the total to 2,576 miles, or 92 percent of the goal.
Date created: Mar 27 2014 / Download
Fish passage is a key component to the restoration of anadromous fish (shad and river herring) in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. These fish are blocked from much of their historic spawning areas, which included waters over 200 miles from the Bay. Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia have set goals to provide fish passage to make much of those historic spawning areas once again accessible to migratory fish. Other species that benefit from the unblocking of streams include eels, native species such as brook trout and other resident species.
What are American shad and why are they important to the Chesapeake Bay? Bruce Vogt from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) explains how the watershed’s shad population has changed over time and what scientists are doing to restore the anadromous fish to our waterways.
Learn more about shad in the Chesapeake Bay Program’s online Field Guide.
Dams, culverts and other barriers block migratory fish from reaching their spawning grounds and reduce habitat for local fish in streams, creeks and rivers. These barriers are being removed or new lifts, ladders and passageways are being installed to allow fish to swim upstream.
Priority is given to fish passage restoration projects that open large stretches of habitat, remove dams, enhance migratory fish passage, and remove impediments in streams that were previously affected by acid mine drainage. Many of these projects also restore the flow of waterways and reduce sediment accumulation.
Amount completed since 1988 (baseline year)
Amount completed in 2013
Dams, culverts and other obstructions currently block more than one thousand miles of fish spawning habitat on Bay tributaries. Anadromous fish, such as American shad and river herring, must have access to freshwater streams and rivers. Fish passages help these fish swim past dams and other blockages to reach upstream freshwater spawning habitat.
The Bay Program’s fish passage efforts are long-standing and generally successful.