Launching a Community Science Eel Monitoring Project

  • Glass eel (Anguilla rostrata). Photo credit: Hudson River NERR

    Glass eel (Anguilla rostrata). Photo credit: Hudson River NERR

Since 2008, the Hudson River Reserve (HRNERR) has been successfully monitoring glass eels within various sites along the Hudson River with help from local volunteers. HRNERR’s eel monitoring project is a great example of a community science program in which individuals across a range of ages can participate in activities including juvenile eel collection, simple data entry (number and weight of eels caught), and transport of these organisms upstream over dams or other obstacles. Many volunteer applications that come through the Jacques Cousteau Reserve (JCNERR) include a desire for involvement in similar research and monitoring-related field work, but research-related field work is often limited and sporadic throughout the year despite its popularity.

Through this transfer grant, the JCNERR plans to emulate the Hudson River Reserve’s eel monitoring project to offer its own community science volunteering opportunity initiated and overseen directly by reserve staff. Providing interested community members with a consistent research and monitoring-related opportunity will encourage participation from teachers, students, and other organizations. The project will also provide useful information about the American eel (Anguilla rostrata) to fisheries managers, while simultaneously giving the public the opportunity to be involved in hands-on field work, resulting in increased community stewardship ethic. In addition to establishing an ongoing monitoring program, the project will also develop products that include outreach education materials and tools, volunteer training guides, and classroom resources for teachers.