Restoration of the American Shad in the Potomac River, February 12th

Photo:  Courtesy of Friends of Mason Neck State Park

Friends of Mason Neck State Park’s Annual Meeting
Saturday, February 12, 2022
2 pm
Online. Free.
Register here.

The Friends of Mason Neck State Park will hold their Annual Meeting via Zoom. They’ll have a brief business meeting at which they summarize their activities for the year and elect a Board of Directors. Following the business meeting, they’ll have a presentation by Jim Cummins, a biologist and river ecologist who has played a key role in the efforts to restore the Potomac River’s shad population.

The American shad was once one of the East Coast’s most abundant and economically important fish. Unfortunately, by the 1970s water pollution, over-harvesting, and the blocking of spawning habitat by dams led to their decline. In 1983 a harvest moratorium on American shad was put into effect on the Potomac River but over a decade later, even with a much cleaner river, the shad population was still showing no signs of recovery. In 1995, the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB) began an 8-year American shad restoration program, with the assistance of local watermen from Mason Neck and the involvement and support of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.

Jim Cummins’ talk will cover the success of that effort, the current status, how the Potomac contributed to subsequent and ongoing shad restorations in many other rivers in the midAtlantic, the involvement of regional schools, and a special description of the historic importance of Mason Neck to the Potomac’s remarkable shad fishery.