ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Department of Environmental Conservation has made an announcement: It’s eel season. The 16th annual Juvenile Eel Monitoring Project has begun – and volunteers are invited to join in.

“New York is home to significant habitat that is critical to the life-cycle of many migratory fish species,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “The Hudson River Eel Project connects students and local residents with nature gathering data that can be valuable for the future study of this species and its role in the Hudson Valley ecosystem.”

This spring, groups of volunteers, DEC staff, and environmental organizations across parts of New York are monitoring glass eels across 11 spots along the Hudson River. Locations range from the Capital Region south to New York Harbor.

So, why examine an eel? The work performed by project participants helps gather data for eel conservation and management plans, which go to the DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program and Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve. The Hudson River’s native glass eels are two-inch translucent animals, which are caught with nets, counted and released back into the water.

Glass eels call estuaries like the Hudson River home, but they don’t actually start off there. Hatched in the Sargasso Sea in the Atlantic Ocean, they arrive and spend around 30 years in freshwater before returning to the ocean for spawning.

Sample sites operated by the DEC include:

  • Richmond Creek, Staten Island
  • Saw Mill River/Center for the Urban River, Yonkers
  • Furnace Brook, Cortlandt
  • Minisceongo Creek, West Haverstraw
  • Quassaick Creek, Newburgh
  • Hunters Brook, Wappingers Falls
  • Fall Kill, Poughkeepsie
  • Crum Elbow Creek, Hyde Park
  • Enderkill, Staatsburg
  • Black Creek, Esopus
  • Saw Kill, Annandale-on-Hudson
  • Hannacroix Creek, New Baltimore
  • Poestenkill, Troy

Those interested in volunteering for the eel count can email Applicants should communicate where they live in the state to be matched to a nearby active site.