Town Brook Herring Information

Town Brook Herring Run  

In 2008 the Department of Marine and Environmental Affairs (DMEA), formerly the Environmental Management Division (EMD), undertook as a project the task of establishing a baseline population estimates for the number of river herring migrating upstream at Town Brook. EMD partnered with the University of Massachusetts – Amherst and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries to complete this project. EMD utilized three different methodologies to establish the population: a video counting system that ran 24 hours a day over the course of 70 days, 3 daily ten minute counts every day for 70 days along with subsequent analysis of the data, and the Smith-Root electronic fish counter. Both the video counting system and the Smith-Root system provided counting coverage 24 hours a days over the entire herring run season.
After analysis of the three counting methodologies, the population of migrating river herring at Town Brook in:
  • 2008 was estimated at 168,996 for the spring
  • 2009 was estimated at 155,015 for the spring
  • 2010 was estimated at 195,091 for the spring
  • 2011 was estimated at 142,633 for the spring (+/- 11,487)
  • 2012 was estimated at 171,141 for the spring (+/- 50,404)
  • 2013 was estimated at 107,413 for the spring 
  • 2014 was estimated at 135,737 for the spring
  • 2015 was estimated at 173,567 for the spring (+/- 14,627)
  • 2016 was estimated at 199,368 for the spring (+/- 17,441)
  • 2017 was estimated at 160,668 for the spring (+/- 16,336)
  • 2018 was estimated at 185,071 for the spring (+/- 15,131)

Graph showing the annual number of herring in Town Brook over time

Pictures of both species of Herring

The  population study will be undertaken again in 2017 to establish a population estimate for river herring in Town Brook and will be used in the future for gauging the success of restoration projects.  Volunteers are needed to conduct a 10 minute count 3x/day from the end of March through first week in June.  Should you be available to volunteer, please contact Wdn. Nate Cristofori.  

Volunteer Herring Count Sheet