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Volunteer with the American Eel Migration Project

Join the CURB team as we count migrating eels on their journey from the Atlantic Ocean to the Hudson River. Each day we check a fyke net for tiny glass eels, count them, weigh them, and release them back to the Hudson River. Water quality data is also collected.

No prior experience is necessary and all equipment is provided. The season begins on February 27th and continues through May. Sampling takes place on Tuesdays – Fridays for about an hour each day. There is also the opportunity to help with seining before/after the eel sampling. For more information about the project please check out the eel page of our website, or contact Outreach Coordinator Jason Muller at Samping takes place at CURB (35 Alexander St. Yonkers).

Why do we count eels? What is most unique about the American eel is their life cycle. Beginning in the Sargasso Sea south of Bermuda, the eels slowly mature while journeying across the Atlantic Ocean to the Eastern Seaboard. Once at the coast they then begin to move into waterways such as the Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay, and New York Harbor.

When the tiny eels reach these waters they are about a year old and have clear, see-through bodies. We refer to them as glass eels, and these are the focus of our data collection. In order to sample for the eels we use a cone-shaped Fyke net placed in our tidal marsh. Staff and volunteers check this net daily, counting the number glass eels and sending this data to the DEC.

The results of our sampling is compared to other locations in order to get a snapshot of the American eel's migration patterns. The eels will spend most of their lives here in the Hudson River before eventually returning to the Sargasso Sea to give birth to a new generation of migrators.