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Clear Passage

Lauren Owens Lambert | United States

At The Herring Run at Thomas Memorial Park in Middelborough, Massachusetts, approximately 800,000 blue back and alewife river herring travel up the 23 mile long Taunton and Nemasket river stretch, one of the largest runs on the Eastern Seaboard, starting at the mouth of Narragansett Bay to the Assawompset Pond in Lakeville to spawn. The Wampanoag word Nemasket translates to “place where the fish are.”

Many rivers in New England once teemed with blueback and alewife herring that migrated from the Atlantic into freshwater spawning grounds. Arriving by the millions each year, these and other fish species played a crucial role in the greater ecology of New England waterways, nourishing riparian habitats and providing food for people, raptors and other predators. Industrialization ended that bounty. Over time, New Englanders built more than 14,000 dams, 3,000 of those in Massachusetts alone. Some rivers were declared "dead" because herring were wiped out by water pollution and dams. But fish, and nature, are resilient if given a chance. Massachusetts and Indigenous Peoples recognized that many of the industrial-era dams were no longer serving their original purpose and would not be worth the money to maintain. At risk of collapse, many also posed a flooding threat to towns downriver, and some dams were deemed to violate Tribal treaties and cultural values by eliminating fishing rights. Letting rivers flow curbs the effects of climate change and encourages cold water ecosystems to thrive. So dam deconstruction seemed the best option for both people and the environment.

National Wildlife Fediration 

Lauren Owens Lambert is a conservation photographer and video journalist based in the Boston area whose work has a creative focus in documenting the human aspect of conservation, climate change and our relationship with the natural world during the age of the anthropocene. In her work, she places people as part of natural cycles, a perspective that is sometimes lost in contemporary society. Her work has been published with Audubon Magazine, BioGraphic Magazine, Modern Huntsman, National Wildlife Magazine and WGBH. She freelances with organizations such as Agence France-Presse, Reuters and MIT Media Lab. She is an International League of Conservation Photographer and a contributing photographer with Everyday Extinction and Everyday Climate Change. Lauren is a Blue Earth Alliance project photographer, has curated and shown in exhibitions at PhotoVille and has presented work at the United Nations on the importance of visual storytelling with Ocean science and data communication under the Sustainable Development Goal 14 - Life Below Water.

Phone: (617) 640-8782

Email: Lauren@LaurenOwensLambert.com

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