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Restoring America's "Founding Fish" - The American Shad


An illustration of an American shad.

Source: Duane Raver

American shad have played a pivotal role in the history, culture and economy of the states bordering the Chesapeake Bay. Until the early 20th century, shad constituted one of the most important mid-Atlantic fisheries, but by the mid-19th century their populations began to decline.
Overharvesting, pollution and habitat degradation led to a sharp downturn their numbers. The construction of small mill dams - and later the development of larger hydroelectric dams - blocked migratory shad from reaching their historic spawning grounds.
But restoration efforts to bring back the shad are beginning to show signs of success. The removal of dams, construction of fish passages and large-scale stocking efforts once again provide shad an opportunity to reclaim their native waters.
Shad restoration expert Jim Cummins from the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin discusses efforts to bring back the species to the Potomac River and throughout the rest of the
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