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Fish Facts: Biodiversity of the Hudson River!

Each month we typically focus on a specific species of fish found here in the Hudson River. However, this month we decided to take an overall look at the biodiversity of the Hudson River, as well as the fish sampled at our Yonkers location.

Our popular “Catch of the Day” seining program affords us the opportunity to sample the various fish, crabs, shrimp, and other critters found in the Hudson. Organizations up and down the watershed participate in similar programs, collecting useful data on the biodiversity of the Hudson River. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation tracks the data that is collected to compile a list of all of the fish species found in the Hudson River Watershed. This list, from Tom Lake of the NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program, may be found on their website. According to the count, 226 different species of have been found in the watershed, with 173 of these being native species. This is a remarkable number which highlights the health and biodiversity of the Hudson River.

Not all of these fish are found here in Yonkers since certain species can tolerate only fresh or salty water. We of course have brackish water here which is a mix of both fresh and salt. Since the start of our seining programs we have been recording all of the fish that are caught and released. This data spans 14 years from 2005 – 2018. The following is a list of all of the various species caught from our beach in Yonkers (including crabs, jellies, and shrimp):

  1. Alewife
  2. American Eel
  3. American Shad
  4. Amphipod
  5. Bay Anchovy
  6. Atlantic Croaker
  7. Atlantic Herring
  8. Atlantic Menhaden
  9. Atlantic Needlefish
  10. Atlantic Silverside
  11. Atlantic Tomcod
  12. Banded Killifish
  13. Black Crappie
  14. Black Drum
  15. Blue Crab
  16. Blueback Herring
  17. Bluefish
  18. Bullhead Catfish
  19. Comb Jelly
  20. Crayfish
  21. Eastern Blacknose Dace
  22. Fathead Minnow
  23. Four-Spined Stickleback
  24. Goldfish
  25. Green Frog
  26. Grass Shrimp
  27. Hogchoker
  28. Horseshoe Crab
  29. Largemouth Bass
  30. Lined Seahorse
  31. Lion’s Mane Jellyfish
  32. Moon Jelly
  33. Mummichog
  34. Naked Goby
  35. Northern Kingfish
  36. Northern Pipefish
  37. Oyster Toadfish
  38. Sand Shrimp
  39. Silver Sea Trout
  40. Soft Shell Clam
  41. Spotted Hake
  42. Striped Anchovy
  43. Striped Bass
  44. Striped Sea Robin
  45. Striped Mullet
  46. Summer Flounder
  47. Three-Spined Stickleback
  48. Sunfish
  49. Weakfish
  50. White Fingered Mud Crab
  51. White Perch
  52. White Sucker
  53. Winter Flounder

Again, this is quite an impressive list and there are sure to be species that we missed with our net. You’ll notice that the majority of these fish are salt tolerant since we have brackish water here in the estuary. However there are several freshwater species mixed in as well. We occasionally will see freshwater fish during periods of low salinity, often caused by heavy rains. We are also located near the mouth of the Saw Mill River which is a freshwater tributary of the Hudson River.

All of our fish data from Yonkers is publicly accessible on our website. We also conduct family seining programs each Saturday from June – August. The schedule will be posted later on this spring.