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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Former Spawning Grounds Reclaimed

For the first time in more than a century American shad, striped bass, American eels, and herring will be able to swim up the Raritan River in NJ to traditional spawning grounds. This in turn will also benefit species like weakfish and bluefish that feed on the young herring as they return to the Raritan Bay and eventually to the ocean.

For the last hundred years or more various dams have impeded the migration of these important game and food fishes. These dams are now scheduled for removal as part of an agreement reached with the El Paso, Corp as compensation for the harm done to the Raritan River from pollutants discharged by El Paso and its subsidiaries.

El Paso will finance the project that will also provide better flushing of the river removing sediment overloads that have been a problem to the ecology of the river. Nutrient loading should also be reduced and healthy populations of zooplankton restored contributing to a healthy food chain in the river.

It is hoped that in time this and other projects like it will restore the natural balance to the Raritan River estuary.

All in all, nearly 10 miles of the Raritan will be opened along with up to 17 miles of tributaries benefiting fish reproduction and receational opportunities along the river.