Volunteer: view upcoming sea lamprey nest dates and registration form below!

Help us learn more about these fish, their population, and where they spawn! 

Become a citizen scientist! So where do these mysterious fish go? In which tributaries of the Connecticut River can we find them and which streams do they prefer to spawn in?

This is one of CRC’s newest project; volunteers can join us and walk rivers and streams to document sea lamprey nests and help fishery biologists capture sea lamprey at dam sites and truck them above impassable dams to otherwise off-limits habitats. Monitors throughout the watershed are surveying selected streams and rivers in July looking for the presence of sea lamprey in the water by finding their nests.

About those lampreys…

Sea lamprey might look scary, and might be confused with eels. But we’re here to tell you that these creatures are nothing to be scared of and are not eels, but rather anadromous fish. Anadromous fish are species of fish that live out their lives in salted water, such as oceans and seas, and travel up freshwater rivers and streams to spawn. While they might be parasitic animals in the sea, when sea lampreys travel upstream into freshwater, they stop eating; they have only one thing in mind, finding a mate and passing on their genes, and therefore you need not worry when swimming in you favorite spot on the river. Sea lampreys die shortly after spawning, and their carcasses play a vital role in providing necessary marine nutrients into freshwater ecosystems. Larval sea lamprey, called ammocoetes, live and grow in their freshwater habitat for a few years, filter feeding on the water’s nutrients. They remain burrowed in sandy substrate until they reach their 5th year. At that point, they start traveling downstream to the sea, where only then do they attach to other fish species and become parasitic. They feed and grow in the ocean for a year to a year and a half, before returning to the rivers to spawn and die.

How do we count them?

So how do we survey for sea lampreys? One thing is for sure, counting them one by one as you walk a stream is not it! Their nests can be hard to spot, but once you’ve identified a few you won’t have any trouble finding them. Using their suction-like mouths, lampreys group surrounding rocks and pebbles together, in a round/oval formation. In the center of this formation is what is called the “egg pit”, a depression in the river bed ranging in diameter size of 12 to 20 inches, where the eggs are deposited. Near the center of this formation, in the pit, you might also find a single rock, called the “attachment rock” where sea lamprey hold on to while spawning. Down stream of the egg pit, you’ll find the “tailspill”, a pile of rocks and pebbles build by the lamprey to “catch” the eggs, and block them from flowing downstream. Sea lamprey nests can be found in depths ranging from 1 foot to 5 feet.

2021 volunteer dates and registration form:

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, Participant has executed this Release as of the day of submission of the form above. Guardian must agree to the terms and submit the form above if Participant is under 18 years of age.

Volunteer & Event Participant Waiver of Liability and Photo Release Form

Connecticut River Watershed Council, Inc. dba Connecticut River Conservancy
15 Bank Row, Greenfield, MA 01301

Please read carefully! This is a legal document that affects your legal rights!

This Volunteer & Event Participant Waiver of Liability and Photo Release Form (the “Release”) executed on the date of submission of the form above, in 2021, by the Participant, whose name is entered in the form above, in favor of the Connecticut River Conservancy, a nonprofit corporation, their directors, officers, employees, agents, and Tributary affiliate (collectively, “CRC”). If Participant is under 18 years of age, the legal guardian of Participant must agree to these terms and submit the form above.

The Participant desires to participate with CRC and engage in the activities related to being a participant during the CRC outdoor events (the “Activities”). The Participant understands that these Activities may include inherent and other risks.

The Participant hereby freely, voluntarily, and without duress executes this Release under the following terms:

Release and Waiver. Participant does hereby release and forever discharge and hold harmless CRC and its successors and assigns from any and all liability, claims, and demands of whatever kind or nature, either in law or in equity, which arise or may hereafter arise from Participant’s Activities with CRC.

Participant understands that this Release discharges CRC from any liability or claim that the Participant may have against CRC with respect to any bodily injury, personal injury, illness, death, or property damage that may result from Participant’s Activities with CRC, whether caused by the negligence of CRC or its officers, directors, employees, or agents or otherwise. Participant also understands that CRC does not assume any responsibility for or obligation to provide financial assistance or other assistance, including but not limited to medical, health, or disability insurance in the event of injury or illness.

Medical Treatment. Participant does hereby release and forever discharge CRC from any claim whatsoever which arises or may hereafter arise on account of any first aid, treatment, or service rendered in connection with the Participant’s Activities with CRC.

Assumption of the Risk. The risks of the Activities the Participant may be subjected to during their participation with CRC include, among others, the following; injury from exposure to non-motorized and/or motorized water travel, including collisions and capsizing; use of hand tools, digging, hammering, moving rocks, branches and bushes, and basic wood construction; walking on uneven terrain, including while carrying heavy loads of materials, supplies and tools; unpredictable weather; the risk of being on and around deep, cold and fast moving waters with obstacles over and below the water; and any and all other risks associated with the environment, remote locations and the tasks undertaken as a volunteer participant in the above referenced activities.

Participant hereby expressly and specifically assumes the risk of injury or harm in the Activities and releases CRC from all liability for injury, illness, death, or property damage resulting from the Activities. In the event of illness or injury, the Participant hereby consents to be provided with emergency medical care, hospitalization or other treatment, which may become necessary during the participation of the Activities above referenced.

Insurance. The Participant understands that, except as otherwise agreed to by CRC in writing, CRC does not carry or maintain health, medical, or disability insurance coverage for any Participant.

Photographic Release. Participant does hereby grant and convey unto CRC all right, title, and interest in any and all photographic images and video or audio recordings made by CRC or its agents during the Participant’s Activities with CRC, including, but not limited to, any royalties, proceeds, or other benefits derived from such photographs or recordings.

Each Participant is expected and encouraged to obtain his or her own medical or health insurance coverage.

Other. Participant expressly agrees that this Release is intended to be as broad and inclusive as permitted by the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and that this Release shall be governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Participant agrees that in the event that any clause or provision of this Release shall be held to be invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, the invalidity of such clause or provision shall not otherwise affect the remaining provisions of this Release which shall continue to be enforceable.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, Participant has executed this Release as of the day of submission of the form above. Guardian must agree to the terms and submit the form above if Participant is under 18 years of age.


For questions, contact us at volunteer@ctriver.org or call 413.772.2020 x207