What comes up must go down or what goes in must go out is an idiom that holds true for physics, biology and for migrating fish!

Remember last spring when we were begging people to help us count river herring as they migrate inland to spawn from the ocean? Well guess what the baby fish are doing now! They are leaving to complete their life cycle. Yes, what comes in must go out and the fish are no different. They need to leave the safety of their nursery freshwater ponds and streams and head on downstream to the ocean.

Check out this video of the outmigrating herring.
(Video courtesy of Pembroke Town News)

But oftentimes in the summer and fall, when natural water cycle is at its lowest, we see streamflows lowered and sometimes gone entirely by human water consumption. This leaves little or no water in the streams for fish to swim downstream. So what can you do to help? Water conservation!

In particular, outdoor watering is the largest culprit with grass being the real bad actor in this play. Please don’t water your lawn and inform your neighbors that a dry streambed is directly related to our penchant for green lawns! When the lawn goes brown it is only dormant – it will come back with the fall rains. Better yet reduce your lawn and trade it in for some more drought-tolerant, pollinator-friendly natives. The fish and the bees will thank you. Just keep swimming Nemo!

This year was a tough year for the First Herring Brook in Scituate and the fish that rely upon it.  The town of Scituate in early August decided to stop releasing flows from their reservoirs to the brook (while still allowing hand held outdoor watering) in order to conserve their water supply. Unfortunately, that means any herring that made it into the reservoirs cannot return to the ocean until streamflow releases resume, in addition, any other aquatic creatures in the brook clearly will simply not survive. Stopping the flows out of the reservoir to feed the river is a direct result of human water consumption doubling in the summer, much of it due to outdoor lawn irrigation.

Check out this video of the outmigrating herring.
(Video courtesy of Pembroke Town News)

Follow us on Instagram!
Check us out at @northsouthrivers on Instagram. You’ll see great river shots, reposts, and event information, as well as our #WatershedWednesday and #FishFactFriday posts. Share your pictures with us with the hashtag #NorthSouthRivers