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Students from a local school get ready to
release shad fry, which have been prepared in their classroom, into the
White Clay Creek in an effort to reintroduce the species into their
Since 2010, the Water Resources Agency (WRA)a unit of the School of Public Policy & Admnistrations
Institute for Public Administrationand the Brandywine Conservancy
have been working in collaboration to implement the Shad in Schools
program in the Brandywine, White Clay Creek, and Red Clay Creek
watersheds in Delaware and Pennsylvania. The Shad in Schools program,
an education and outreach tool, is part of the larger efforts in the
Brandywine and White Clay Creeks to restore shad and migratory fish passage and habitat, increase spawning areas, and benefit the resident fish in the watersheds.
The Shad in Schools program is an applied experience that educates
students, teachers, and the public about the history, problems/decline,
and life cycle of American shad while teaching math and science
concepts through the balance of water conditions and temperature. In
the first year of the program, WRA, which is located in the White Clay
Creek watershed, and four schools located in the Brandywine Creek
watershed established the five initial tanks. By the third year of the
program (2012), there were ten schools from the Brandywine, Red Clay,
and White Clay Creeks participating in this program.
The program has a distinct timeline that must be followed each year
in order to mimic the natural conditions in the stream and prepare for
the arrival of the American shad eggs. In mid-April, the schools
receive their shad-rearing tank equipment, and the students and
teachers construct the shad tank. Once constructed, the tank runs for
approximately 2-3 weeks prior to receiving the shad eggs. During this
time, the students conduct water-quality tests on the system, including
tests on ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, and temperature.
Once the water in the system is acclimated appropriately, the
students are prepared to receive their shad eggs. Eggs are collected
from mature shad in the streams and then introduced to the students
tanks. There they will grow and hatch into fry in about 4-5 days; on
the fifth day they are released into the Brandywine and White Clay
Creeks. Shad are anadromous fish, spawning in fresh-water streams and
migrating to the ocean to grow and mature. The fry that are released
will remain in the creeks until the water temperatures begin to drop in
the fall. The shad will then swim out to the Atlantic Ocean, where
they will continue to grow. They will remain in the ocean for 4-6 years
before returning to the river they were released in for their first
WRAs Martha Corrozi Narvaez and the Brandywine Conservancys Tim Lucas serve as the leads for the
Shad in Schools program. For more information about this project,
contact Martha Corrozi Narvaez (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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