Get Schooled on Alewives

Tributaries within the Peconic Estuary watershed and around Long Island once supported spring runs of alewives returning from the ocean to spawn. 

But dams, habitat loss and declining water quality have decimated their numbers. 

Remnant populations exist, but there is still little known about their overall status across Long Island. Documenting existing spawning runs is an important step in the restoration effort. 

The Peconic Estuary Program needs your help to watch for returning alewives between March and May of this spawning season. They’re holding two volunteer training sessions this month to learn how to identify and record alewife sightings. Attendees will become a part of a large network of volunteers helping to continue restoration efforts for this important species.

The first session will be held on Friday, March 1 from 6 to 7 p.m. at the South Fork Natural History Museum at 377 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike in Bridgehampton. 

The second session will be held on Wednesday, March 6 from 6 to 7 p.m. at Baits & Barrels at 1315 West Main Street in Riverhead.

Another session, sponsored by the Seatuck Environmental Association, will be held at the Montauk Library at 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 14.

To RSVP for either program, email

Each spring, the Peconic Estuary Program joins the Long Island Sound Study, Seatuck Environmental Association, Cornell Cooperative Extension and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to host these volunteer trainin sessions throughout Long Island. Look for other volunteer trainings that are also being planned by Seatuck and the Long Island Sound Study this spring. 

Beth Young

Beth Young built her first boat out of driftwood tied together with phragmites behind her family’s apartment above the old Mill Creek Inn in Southold. Nowadays, she spends most of her time kayaking, learning about shellfish, writing newspaper stories, trying to sail a Sunfish, and watching the way the bay changes from day to day. You can send her a message at

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