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Coastwide Perspective

Conservation of river herring  must be holistic given their riverine and coastal distribution, and the many threats that they face.  


River herring occur in freshwater, estuarine, and marine systems.There are many systems throughout their range, but some broad systems include Canada freshwater, Northeast/Mid-Atlantic/Southeast freshwater, and marine (including Northeast shelf and Southeast shelf).

A Geographic Perspective of Threats to River Herring

Alewives and blueback herring can be found along much of the coast and many of the rivers in streams along much of the Eastern seaboard of the U.S. and Canada (see species range above). Given their extensive geographic distribution they also tend to face many threats. The greatest of these threats include climate change, dams that block or impede access to spawning and nursery habitats, poor water quality, overfishing, and predation.



Map of U.S. freshwater distribution of some anadromous species. 

Alewives.  Picture credit: Julia Beaty

Simkins Dam Removal, Patapsco River, MD. Picture credit: Mary Andrews, NOAA

This plan is intended to help provide a coast-wide perspective on river herring, including the threats they face, the ongoing efforts to restore them, and any additional research and conservation needs. Additional information on each of these can be found under Ongoing Management and Monitoring, Research/Conservation Needs and Ongoing Efforts, and Conclusions & Looking Forward.