Fish and Floods

Storm Ecology – Fish and FloodMusic; Ambience: RiverJM: If a storm brings heavy rainfall and flooding, it’s usually bad news for humans, but for fish it’s more a matter of going with the flow. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.BA: In flooding events, we do find that the distribution of fish changes in the river. The fresh water species are found throughout the Hudson, even in sections that are normally high in salt content. JM: Bob Adams is an environmental analyst with the Hudson River Estuary Program.BA: In an estuary like the Hudson, as you move from the mouth of the river where it meets the ocean, upstream into fresher waters there’s a gradual decrease in salt content. There’s a certain point in the river where saltwater stops and freshwater begins and that’s considered a salt front. That can change seasonally based on the amount of water coming in, the amount of flow. So during a tropical storm or a flooding event, that salt front is moved downstream as there is a lot of fresh water coming into the river and downstream towards the ocean. And moving along with that are the species that like to live in those saltier waters. And we have a couple species in the Hudson that definitely do that when they’re young, one is the striped bass. If I were a fish during a flooding event I would try to get in slower moving water and hopefully find areas where conditions are suitable. So, not areas of low oxygen content. So one positive of the flooding is that there’s a lot of material that comes from upland in leaves and trees and other plant material that comes into the river that is broken down by a lot of the little organisms that serve as food for a lot of the species that we’re catching out here. We’re finding fish that, despite all of the flooding, seem to be eating pretty well. Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research. I’m Jim Metzner

Fish and Floods

Can fish just ride out a flood?
Air Date:10/05/2020
Scientist:
Transcript:

Storm Ecology - Fish and FloodMusic; Ambience: RiverJM: If a storm brings heavy rainfall and flooding, it's usually bad news for humans, but for fish it's more a matter of going with the flow. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.BA: In flooding events, we do find that the distribution of fish changes in the river. The fresh water species are found throughout the Hudson, even in sections that are normally high in salt content. JM: Bob Adams is an environmental analyst with the Hudson River Estuary Program.BA: In an estuary like the Hudson, as you move from the mouth of the river where it meets the ocean, upstream into fresher waters there's a gradual decrease in salt content. There's a certain point in the river where saltwater stops and freshwater begins and that's considered a salt front. That can change seasonally based on the amount of water coming in, the amount of flow. So during a tropical storm or a flooding event, that salt front is moved downstream as there is a lot of fresh water coming into the river and downstream towards the ocean. And moving along with that are the species that like to live in those saltier waters. And we have a couple species in the Hudson that definitely do that when they're young, one is the striped bass. If I were a fish during a flooding event I would try to get in slower moving water and hopefully find areas where conditions are suitable. So, not areas of low oxygen content. So one positive of the flooding is that there's a lot of material that comes from upland in leaves and trees and other plant material that comes into the river that is broken down by a lot of the little organisms that serve as food for a lot of the species that we're catching out here. We're finding fish that, despite all of the flooding, seem to be eating pretty well. Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research. I'm Jim Metzner