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Upstream Battle: Shad Ascend Schuylkill Past Phoenixville for First Time in Almost 200 Years

Last summer, we celebrated the spotting of American shad below the Black Rock Dam near Phoenixville—the first time the native species had been observed above Norristown since 1820. This summer, the shad look to shatter that record. Earlier this week, biologists from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission observed several adult American shad passing through the Black Rock Fishway. This marks a 37-mile journey up the river for shad, which migrate annually upstream to spawn, and is a testament to the success of shad restoration in the Schuylkill. A total of 10 dams in the Schuylkill have either been removed or now
have fishways that allow fish to pass through; many of these restoration
projects were completed in the last five years.

Image: PA Fish and Boat Commission

The Philadelphia Water Department and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed and sponsor the first fish ladder on the shad's journey upstream at the Fairmount Dam; read last month's post about the Fairmount fish ladder and keep an eye out for shad at the Fish Cam.