NYC Parks, in partnership with the Bronx River Alliance, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) today came together to stock the Bronx River at the Bronx Zoo with 400 alewife, a type of river herring.

“We’re ‘herring’ that 400 alewife are looking for a new home to spawn, and we know just the place,” said NYC Parks Bronx Borough Commissioner Iris Rodriguez-Rosa. “The third annual ‘running of the fish’ on the Bronx River marks another opportunity to increase biodiversity and restore ecological value to the river. It has quickly become a Parks springtime staple, and we are proud to work closely with the Bronx River Alliance, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the CT DEEP to make this an annual reality.”

“It takes many partners to bring back a river. The Bronx River Alliance and NYC Parks are proud to partner with the Connecticut Department of Energy and the Environment and the Wildlife Conservation Society to bring back these native fish--alewife herring--to the Bronx River,” said NYC Parks Bronx River Administrator/Executive director of the Bronx River Alliance Maggie Scott Greenfield. “These fish are an ecological and cultural cornerstone for the river and we look forward to a day when the river again runs silver with their spring migrations.”

“We’re proud to be part of the ongoing revitalization of the Bronx River for the benefit of all New Yorkers, including our fishy friends,” said Dr. Merry Camhi, Director of WCS’s New York Seascape Program, a marine conservation initiative based at the WCS New York Aquarium. “River herring, along with American eels, play an important ecological role connecting the city’s waterways and the marine habitats along our coasts.”

In its third consecutive year, the “running of the fish,” hopes to continue combatting the steady decline of alewife populations in the northeast. Pollution, mismanagement of fisheries and impediments to migration have all played a role in reducing the population of alewife. Historically, the river herring “run” or migration upstream to spawn each April is a symbol that spring has arrived.

The restocking is part of an ongoing effort to re-establish a population of these native fish in one of the nation’s most urbanized waterways. CT DEEP trapped and transported the fish from Connecticut to the Bronx via a dedicated Fish Tank-er trunk, releasing the fish into the river through a large hose.

River herring are anadromous fish; meaning they live in the ocean but spawn in freshwater. Alewife are river herring that are native to this region. These fish are an important food source for larger fish, birds and other wildlife in our ocean, estuaries and rivers. Stocking alewife in the Bronx River will provide the species as a whole with additional habitat and increase local biodiversity.

In 2015, NYC Parks’ constructed a fish ladder over the 182nd Dam to allow fish to migrate upstream to spawn. This ladder gives fish access to 12 acres of freshwater habitat that have been blocked for centuries and allows them to pass from river to ocean.