Shad shed shackles, roam free in Rivanna


“Shad, shad, shad,” sang more than 70 fourth graders from Stone Robinson Elementary at around 1:30pm today as they prepared to release approximately 10,000 of the tiny fish—all bulging eyes and translucent amoebic tail—into the Rivanna River at Shadwell. A historically native fish of this area, shad can ultimately grow as long as 8 inches. They typically migrate to the ocean but return to fresh water to spawn. Initially, they face great obstacles—like bigger, hungry fish—as well as the dams built along the Rivanna that prevent their trip back upstream. Last August, one of the last dams was torn down in Woolen Mills. Students scooped the speck-like fish and dumped them into the river as part of the Annual American Shad Release. A few hundred thousand will also be released at Darden Towe later this year.

Stone Robinson Elementary students help release 10,000 tiny shad into the Rivanna River.