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News & events

Migratory Movements of American Shad in the James River Fall Zone, Virginia

November 11, 2014

The VCU Rice Rivers Center congratulates Drs. Aaron W. Aunins, Bonnie L. Brown, Matt Balazik and Greg C. Garman on their publication: “Migratory Movements of American Shad in the James River Fall Zone, Virginia”, published in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management.

The abstract reads as follows: The installation of Bosher’s Dam fishway and notches or breaches to all dams downstream in the James River, Virginia, were completed during 1989-19999 to help restore the river’s alosine populations by providing access to over 400 river kilometers (rkm) of historical spawning habitat that had been blocked for about 175 years. We used stationary radiotelemetry receivers in April-July 2009 to assess the passage of tagged adult American Shad Alosa sapidissima through the fall zone and Bosher’s Dam fishway. Three receivers encompassed 25 rkm from below head of tide to 3 rkm above Bosher’s Dam. Ninety-four American Shad were radio-tagged over 30 d, either at the head of tide (n=64) or upstream below the Bosher’s Dam fishway (n=30). No American Shad tagged at the head of tide were detected at the base of Bosher’s Dam, and none were detected above Bosher’s Dam fishway. However, several tagged fish released at the base of Bosher’s Dam remained there for days (x=4.0 d, DS = 5.9 d) without negotiating the fishway. These results suggest that passage at Bosher’s Dam and through other fall zone dams needs improvement and that American Shad access to historical spawning habitat remains thwarted.

Aaron W. Aunins , Bonnie L. Brown , Matt Balazik & Greg C. Garman (2013) Migratory Movements of American Shad in the James River Fall Zone, Virginia, North American Journal of Fisheries Management, 33:3, 569-575, DOI: 10.1080/02755947.2013.768564

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