delware environmental institute

News Journal: With dam gone, will shad spawn?

For most of their lives, shad – a group of fish in the the herring family – live in the ocean. But each spring – or so the story goes – as the shadbush bursts into bloom, they run up the Delaware Bay, into the river and tributaries like the White Clay Creek, where, drawn by fresh water, the fish spawn. Or that's the way it's supposed to go.

Since colonial times, manmade dams have blocked the passage of shad to historic spawning grounds on the White Clay Creek. With one of those dams now gone, there's one big question, said Gerald Kauffman, director of the Water Resource Agency at the University of Delaware: "Will they return?"