Herring Run Pool Park, Water Street, Weymouth, MA, USA
Owned By: Town of Weymouth
A pocket park in Jackson Square, at the corner of Water and Commercial Streets. Stop by in the springtime to see the herring run. Stop by anytime to learn more about herring in general. The park is located on Herring Run Brook, a major tributary to the Weymouth Back River. This is a great spot to learn some local history!
While this small park, part of the Back River Trail system, was established in 2010, herring have been caught here for centuries, as evidenced by Weymouth town records dating back to 1648. Through the mid-1900s, local residents considered the herring run a valuable food resource. The state constructed a fish ladder here in 1940, to assist river herring in their annual migration to their spawning grounds upstream.
Nearby (also in Jackson Square) you can also view the herring run at Stephen Rennie Herring Run Park. Farther upstream, also visit Iron Hill Park the final stop on the journey before herring ascend to their spawning grounds in Whitman’s Pond.
Part of the Back River Trail system, but no actual trails.
Habitats and Wildlife
The Weymouth Back River rises from several ponds and swamps, including Whitman’s Pond in Weymouth. It flows for about 10 miles and empties into the Atlantic Ocean at Hingham Bay, downstream of the park, and just south of Grape Island and Slate Island.
River herring swim upstream from the ocean to Whitman’s Pond every year to spawn. You may be able to catch a glimpse of them here in April.
The term “river herring” refers to both the alewife and blueback varieties. They are born in fresh water, but spend the majority of their lives in the ocean. However they return to freshwater to spawn, usually to the same place where they were born. This happens in the spring, when the water temperature rises to about 57 degrees (late April through June).
Herring populations in the Weymouth Back River dropped significantly in the 2000s. Millions of herring were caught here annually in the 1800s, but by 2005, that number had dropped to 80,000. More recently their populations have rebounded, between 2018-and 2021 the population has hovered near 300,000 due to the stewardship of herring wardens, George Loring and Phil Lofgren! Improving flow, water quality and stream access will help to restore local herring runs. While herring may no longer be an important part of the human diet, numerous local species rely on it as a food source. These include bald eagles, osprey, egrets, harbor seals, kingfishers, river otter, and a variety of marine and freshwater fish.
Historic Site: Yes
Boat Launch: No
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: The park is located at the corner of Water and Commercial Streets, directly behind The Venetian restaurant. Look for roadside parking nearby.
Trail Difficulty: No trails.
Benches, murals, elaborate informational kiosks, trash receptacles. Geocache location.
Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash. Scoop the poop!
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: Yes
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Herring Run Brook (Weymouth Back River watershed)