Shad Swim Beyond Former Lowell Mill Dam!

Our senior resident biologist, Randy Turner, has happily reported that American shad have successfully returned to spawn upstream of the former site of the Lowell Mill Dam. The impoundment was drained and the dam removed in December of 2005 by Restoration Systems following five years of planning. This is a major accomplishment for all who were working on the project as it is a testament to the restoration of the site and the natural habitat surrounding the former dam. Biologist Tim Savidge with the Catena Group has been monitoring the passage, as well as points upstream and downstream, since the spawning season began this Spring, to track the progress of the shad’s return. He has reported that they have also been sighted at the Atkinson Mill Dam in Johnston County and Buffalo Creek in Caldwell County. Both of those points are located upstream from Lowell. We will keep you updated on their progress!


Tim displays the shad caught today at the former
Lowell Mill Dam site.

The Facts about Shad:


The American shad, otherwise known as Alosa sapidissima in scientific circles, is indigenous to the Atlantic coast and spends most of its life at sea in large schools. It only enters the freshwater river in which it was born to spawn. During an average life span of five years at sea, the American shad may migrate more than 12,000 miles, visit the Bay of Fundy in Canada, and return to its home stream to spawn! The greatest impediments to their spawning include poor water quality and blockage of the rivers due to the construction of dams; a fact that supports the crucial need for restoration to our environment! To learn more, please visit this helpful site: