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Citizen Science

Citizen Science: American Eel Research

Students and Community Partners Research Migratory Fish

American eels are “catadromous,” which means they’re born in the salty Atlantic Ocean and migrate into freshwater systems in North America. Eels live for decades in freshwater rivers, streams, and ponds before returning to the Sargasso Sea to spawn. By the time the tiny “glass eels” arrive in Hudson River tributaries, they’ve already traveled over 1,000 miles. Baseline studies of migrations are needed because historically-abundant eel populations are declining in many areas.

Students and community volunteers work with DEC staff and scientists to monitor glass eel populations in Hudson River tributaries each spring. These tiny fish are counted, weighed, then released back into the water to continue their journey upstream.

These projects involve students, teachers, and community volunteers directly with scientific design and field methods. Participants learn about their local ecosystem and collect important information about migrating fish and environmental conditions. More information is available on the citizen-science and eel monitoring page.

For more information on Citizen-science Fisheries Research, please call 845-889-4745 x108 or email grace.ballou@dec.ny.gov

A student checks out eels in a Hudson River tributary.

A student checks out eels in a Hudson River tributary.

Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
NOAA National Estuarine Research Reserve System

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