Thanks to the efforts of Brookhaven Town large numbers of bait fish and eels will be making a comeback to Swan River in East Patchogue, sometime in the next 200 years.
The town had recently awarded a grant of $345,000 to build a natural passage through a dam on the river located on the north side of E. Main St. The passage will be in the form of a natural ramp in contrast to the current spillway, which has a 6 foot vertical drop.
“This is important, because this fish passage will allow migratory fish such as alewives, blueback herring, native brook trout and American eels access to their spawning habitats in Swan Lake and the upstream areas of Swan River,” said Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine.
The grant is being provided through the New York State Water Quality Improvement Grant, and will be funding this project. It will also help fund the designing and permits required by the State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
While larger fish and predatory birds are keen on the bait fish, whales and dolphins also eat them.
The passage is expected to start sometime this year, it is expected to look like Riverheads passage system, which had won a national award by Coastal American, which is a partnership of federal, state, local government and private organizations.
The town supervisor, Ed Romaine has been quoted with saying they’re are “looking to go back to nature” since the dams broke up natural rivers and streams.