Reopening the Bay's Rivers to Migratory Fish
American shad are one of the main beneficiaries of the 1,500-plus-miles of rivers reopened in the Bay watershed.
The great rivers of the Chesapeake Bay watershed -- the Susquehanna, Rappahannock, Potomac, York and James -- supply nearly 90 percent of the fresh water flowing into the Bay. In addition to bringing fresh water into the estuary, they also act as natural highways for migratory fish - linking upriver spawning grounds to the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay itself.
But as the region has grown over the last four hundred years, the natural flow of many rivers and streams has been altered. Dams - first constructed to operate turn of the century grain mills and more recently to power modern hydroelectric power plants - impede migratory fish from reaching their historic spawning grounds.
However, thanks to the work of dedicated conservationists throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed, work is underway to remove many of the 2,500 blockages -- restoring a natural balance to many of the Bay's vital rivers.
Chesapeake Bay Program Fish Passage Coordinator David Sutherland of the US Fish and Wildlife Service joins us to talk about dam removal and fish passage construction in the Bay watershed.
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