Over the last 100 years populations of many native migratory fish populations in the Cape Fear River (striped bass, shad, river herring, Atlantic and short nosed sturgeon) have declined by as much as 90%. Much of this decline can be attributed to the loss of spawning habitat caused by the construction of three large lock and dam structures between Wilmington and Fayetteville in the early 20th century.
While these locks and dams make the river navigable for more than 100 miles, provide protection from flood waters and impound drinking water, their design is not fish-friendly. CFRW is a leading voice in the efforts to retrofit these dams with rock arch rapids on the downstream face of each dam to allow anadromous fish access to their historical spawning grounds.
Check out this video of the rock arch rapids!
This year, fish swam over the dam at Lock and Dam #1 on their own for the first time in over 100 years, thanks to the work of CFRW and and the USACE. And soon these migratory fish will have viable spawning habitat which is being constructed above lock and dam #1 with funding from NOAA-SARP.
But, there is more work to do. CFRW will continue to work with our partners to ensure that fish are able swim over Locks and Dams #2 and #3 as well. And we will continue to tag and track the movements of striped bass in through our tagging program that happens each year at StriperFest.
Watch the movements of several important migratory fish!
Another great way to support fisheries in our area is by supporting sustainable fish consumption – click here to view the ocean friendly guide to sustainable seafood consumption in the Southeast!
Our annual StriperFest event is a two day event to raise awareness, friends and funds to support our ongoing work on Fishery Restoration. Read more about the Auction, Banquet, Tag-and-Release Tournament, and Education Day event here!