“Giving at Troy. Thanks to the brackish nature of

“Giving something a name, is the first step in taking care of it.” – Akiko Bush, NYTimes ( I would like to have a quote like this or this one, as a larger text within the layout of the piece, maybe the front page of the piece, or as an opener). Hudson River, Kingston, Rondout The Hudson River has often been described as an arm of the Atlantic Ocean (Mylod, 1969), flowing tidal from New York Harbor to the Federal Dam at Troy. Thanks to the brackish nature of the water, the river is home to a niche community of species. Sturgeon, shad, and river Herring were once vastly abundant natives of the Estuary. The early natives of the Hudson Valley, the Algonquins lived along the river shores and reaped the abundance of these migratory fish. As time progressed, Europeans invaded the area. The navigable waters and prosperity of resources made the shores of the Hudson even more desirable settling grounds. Soon, these settlers would expand and develop rapidly, impacting the beloved resources that drew them to the land in the first place. One of the earliest cities settled along the Hudson River was Kingston, in Ulster County. Nearly 140 miles upstream from New York Harbor lies a tributary known as The Rondout Creek, which forms the southern border of Kingston. Deriving its name from the Dutch word, “redoubt”, meaning fort, one of which existed at the mouth of the creek during Dutch Settlement in the 1600s (Steuding, 1995). Throughout settlement the Rondout Creek was utilized as a port for trade, carrying goods and passengers to and from New York and Europe. Kingston, was well known as a popular spawning area for shad and herring and fishermen would travel great lengths to celebrate the annual season of plenty (Schoonmaker, 1888). With time, the Rondout became more important than just the protein it would supply. Early colonial settlers began to harness the water along the Rondout, to power mills. These mills manufactured wool, cotton, plaster, cement, and bark (Frances, 1836). After utilizing its power for production, the Rondout became a hub for trade. By 1828, the 108 mile Hudson-Delaware Canal was constructed, connecting Honesville, Pennsylvania to Kingston, New York.  The canal ran alongside the Rondout Creek for a great ways. Built with over a 100 locks and weirs, the canal drastically altered the hydrology of the land. The turn of the century brought with it the development of rail systems and, as a result, the canal and its weirs were drained and abandoned by 1898. Rapid progress of waterways, brought immediate, noticeable impacts on once abundant natural resources. Throughout New England, declining numbers of sturgeon, shad, and cod along the Atlantic coast were recorded (Bolster 2008, Hall et al. 2011, and Dovel 1979). Overfishing and the damming of waterways, were among the highest complaints of fisherman as early as the 1700s (Hall et. al 2011). However, these concerns became increasingly apparent throughout the 1800’s, and by the 1900’s, the scientific documentation of fish population decline and its link to human impacts appeared (Bain, 1997). Despite these recognitions, development ensued and celebratory seasons of plenty became a thing of the past. Today, some communities still celebrate the return of shad, American eel, sturgeon, and herring but in abundances far less than their ancestors experienced. While the rapid development of canals, dams, and weirs served a purpose centuries ago, many of these structures have survived long beyond their antiquated use. Many still stand, most abandoned, altering hydrologic regimes and changing aquatic ecosystems. Eddyville and Sturgeon Pool Introduction        One such obsolete structure, is the Eddyville Dam on the Rondout Creek. 3.8 miles from the mouth, standing 12 feet tall, this dam obstructs 4 miles of upstream riverine habitat for a variety of fish. While, the Army Corps of Engineers dates this dam’s completion in 1850, there are records mentioning the existence of the dam prior to the development of the Delaware and Hudson Canal in 1828 (Frances, 1836). With the construction of the canal and the damming of the stream, the area once historically abundant in fish was transformed. Nearly, a century after the estimated construction of the Eddyville Dam, another dam was erected X miles upstream. Damming the Wallkill River at its confluence with the Rondout Creek lies, the Sturgeon Pool Dam. (Visual of locations would be great here!! ). The dam’s shared name with the now endangered fish, has drawn conservationists, ecologists, and locals to wonder about its origins (reword).  Did this once abundant fish, frequent the area? Did the development of the canals, locks, and dams destruct it’s habitat? And, is the Eddyville Dam potentially blocking 4 miles of historic habitat for this endangered species? A little info on diadromous fish? Sturgeon, like shad, herring, and American eel are all diadromous, spending a portion of their life cycles in both fresh and marine waters. Thus, places like the Hudson River Estuary provide a great home to these natives. During their life cycles these fish travel great distances to spawn. Sturgeon, shad, and herring, all utilize freshwater tributaries to spawn. These migratory patterns have been documented throughout history, and because of their predictability and and ease of catch in spawning grounds, their capture was a profitable trade. Historically, people would annually celebrate the return of these fish, and this time of the year would be known as the “season of plenty” (Schoonmaker, 1888).  Beyond their economic and cultural role, diadromous species provide crucial exchange between continental and marine ecosystems: transporting energy, nutrients, and productivity (Limburg, Waldman 2009). More???*** Historically abundant diadromous species, such as American shad, river herring, sturgeon and American eel have seen populations decline to near historic lows (Limburg, Waldmann 2009). Damming of river and stream habitat has been one of the top causes of decline (Limburg and Waldman 2009). American shad have lost nearly 4,000 of an original 11,200 km of spawning habitat due to dams (Limburg et. al 2003). The shortnose sturgeon, a native of the Hudson River, was included in the original Endangered Species Act (Woodland & Secor, 2007) and over half of the species on the endangered species list have been negatively affected by the construction of dams or other water control structures (Graf, 2003 and Losos et al. 1985).Dams These structures have a wide array of implications on waterways. They alter crucial nutrient cycling within stream and river systems, change water temperatures, alter resident fish populations by creating micro-populations, obstruct habitats, and reduce the size and run of spawning reaches. Most evident, they fracture connected ecosystems severely inhibiting migrations for diadromous fish (Limburg and Waldmann 2009). Dam building in the eastern U.S. began in the early 1600’s (Walter, et al 2008). By the early 1700’s in New England, laws were being signed into act with fishing restrictions, citing dams’ roles in migratory fish declines (Vickers 2004). Between 1634-1850 mill dams in Maine’s watershed reduced lake habitat for river herring by more than 95% and large dams on primary rivers, led to a near complete loss of habitat by the 1860s (Hall et. al. 2011). In the United States as a whole, more than 65,000 mill dams is existed by 1840 (Walter, et al 2008). In 1870, State Fish commissioners concluded dam construction was the primary cause of migratory fish extinction in Maine’s waterways (Atkins 1868), and in 1890 estimated that only 10% of original habitat was still accessible for spawning (Hall et al. 2011) . By the end of the 20th century there were more than 80,000 dams in the United States of 6 feet in height or greater, but it’s estimated that as many as 2 million dams, differing in size, may exist in the U.S. (Graf, 2003). Dams were the pioneers of stream modification in The Hudson River Estuary Watershed. Today, the watershed contains nearly 800 registered dams at least .6 meters in height (Swaney et al, 2006). The Eddyville Dam on the Rondout Creek, still survives on this list. Currently the dam’s only role is the fragmentation of the creek. A herring run exists within the Rondout Creek, and spawning occurs just below the dam (Schmidt 1989). Adult shortnose sturgeon have been observed in great numbers, overwintering and feeding in the Hudson River near Kingston, New York (Dovel & Berggren 1983 and Dovel 1979 Kahnle?). Sturgeon Specific details- **Pre- spawning adults congregate near spawning grounds for overwintering, a few kilometers downstream of Kingston. **  Sturgeon unlikely to spawn in brackish waters because eggs are intolerant of saline conditions- some significant amount of river habitat downstream is needed to disperse eggs***  (Bain et. al 1997)Explain this in relation to the Rondout Creek* Historical mentions of the abundant shad, herring, and sturgeon runs in the area have lead many people to wonder about the impact of the Eddyville dam. Most prominently, Sturgeon Pool upstream of the dam leads people to wonder what may have been. Determining the impact of a two- century- year- old dam comes with its own challenges. We decided to investigate the origins of “Sturgeon Pool”, the Eddyville Dam, and the history of the Rondout Creek. Detailed records of fish in the Rondout Creek prior to the existence of the Eddyville Dam, were near impossible to come by. Throughout the 1800’s a series of Gazetteers of the State of New York were published, giving descriptions of each town village, and city including the resources in the area. Unfortunately, fish were rarely mentioned in these accounts. In New England, the first detailed records of fish harvests weren’t documented until the development of Fish and State Commissions around the 1860s (Hall, et. al 2011). Within the Hudson River Estuary, the first scientific accounts of sturgeon erected in the 1930s with the NYS Biological Surveys (Bain, 1997). Prior to these developments, concerns of the land were mentioned only in personal accounts and correspondence. By 1810 within the Hudson River Estuary, the impacts of dams on migratory fish were being recognized by local community members (Mitchill 1811). In a correspondence of a Dr. Samuel Mitchill, he states “the disturbance sturgeon have seen during the progress of settlement has, diminished their numbers exceedingly”.  Within the Estuary, great mention of fish declines were observed, thanks to the fragmentation of waterways. Due to the lack of specific information on location, abundance, and species, it’s difficult to quantify human impact. The name “Sturgeon Pool” implies an origin, that could define the impact of the Eddyville Dam.”Naming something, is the first step in taking care of it” – Akiko Bush (cite this correctly) . Place names can be a gateway into what was, what changed, and what could be. And so, the naming of dams, waterways, and landscapes can hold significance in ecology and conservation efforts. We started with the belief that the name, itself, held significance and began to work backward. We utilized local towns documents, government archives, local libraries, we interviewed local historians and fisheries biologists, and studied the in depth history of the Hudson Valley in an attempt to find the origin of the name “Sturgeon Pool”. Local archives, all seem to have conflicting records of its origins. The Town of Esopus story written by locals of the area, gives a definition of Sturgeon Pool “As a large man-made lake formed by Central Hudson’s power dam named for the Sturgeon Family who owned a considerable portion of land now under water”. Following this insight, we went hunting at the Ulster County Clerks office. The family name Sturgeon existed on tax rolls and land deeds throughout the 1860’s in the area (prior to Sturgeon Pool’s construction). The deeds and family name wasn’t as prominent as others in the area, which made this theory skeptical. If it was named after the family wouldn’t it be called the “Sturgeon Dam”, just like the Eddyville Dam? So, this had us wondering what’s up with the pool? We continued to hunt, and found another source defining Sturgeon Pool. In 1924, The Newburgh Daily Journal, suggested the origin of the name came from Asa Smith, a child living near present day, Sturgeon Pool. Asa Smith living near a deep pool of water in the region, was highly interested in Sturgeon as they were extremely abundant for fishing in the Hudson River and the Rondout Creek in the 1860s. Asa decided to collect fertilized sturgeon eggs and put them into the deep pool, which then came to be known as “Asa’s sturgeon pool”. The author of this theory couldn’t be found, and a replication of the story wasn’t found. In the same year this newspaper article was published, a conflicting report entitled “Sturgeon Pool Development”  was written. Shared by the local Bruderhof Community (in Rifton, New York), this document contained a thorough narrative of the development of the dam, including images during construction and specific details of the working parts of the hydroelectric plant. This report explains that the name of Sturgeon Pool comes from the fish itself, as this location was about as high as the fish could travel. Two sets of natural falls upstream would limit further movement. The report mentions that a great number of sturgeon could be found in this pool during spawning season. In an additional book of the history of Rifton Valley by the Bruderhof Community, a map re-drawn from a 1920’s Rifton Land Corp Survey shows the location of the “original sturgeon pool” where these fish once spawned. (see image). These were the three most explicit narratives that could be formed on the origin of Sturgeon Pool. All three tell very different stories and have different implications for conservation efforts. While the search for its origin has been exhaustive but incomplete, we do know that as a whole, damming of streams and rivers is one of the primary causes of diadromous fish decline in North America (Limburg and Waldmann 2009). And so, these abandoned pieces of history leave scars on our rivers and streams for no current benefit to us. The removal of the Eddyville Dam has been a cause for debate for the past twenty years in the Hudson Valley. In 1996, Biologists noted passage of the dam would open up a large run for historic migratory fish (Schmidt, Limburg 1996). In 1998 The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Engineering Bureau, conducted a feasibility study to install a means of fish passage through the dam (USFWS, 1989 not sure if this citation is correct or if I should just discuss the USFWS study). And today, the Eddyville dam ……??? Efforts. The challenge with fish passage design, is that it only accounts for certain species (make a quick mention on this and sturgeon?) Dam removal has widely been recognized as one of the most useful recovery actions in conservation (limburg, waldmann, 2009). Many efforts to restore aquatic connectivity throughout the region are on the rise. According to American Rivers, over the past 100 years, 1,150 dam removals have occurred in the U.S. In 2016, the Wynants Kill Dam on a tributary to the Hudson River was removed. Within 5 days of removal river herring were seen making their way into this tributary for the first time in decades. The Hudson River Estuary is working towards greater aquatic connectivity. Beyond dams, a multitude of aquatic barriers exist. Organizations like the North Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Collaborative have assessed over 33,000 road stream crossings to rank their passability for fish. The Hudson River Estuary Program utilizes these assessments to offer grants to update old infrastructure impacting species in the region.