Fishing in the Blackstone River

One of the park’s main goals this summer is to educate people on how to safely recreate with the Blackstone River. This can be a little tricky due to the pollution within the Blackstone River. During the mid- 1800’s the river was contaminated with heavy metals and dyes from the mills that sat along the river. Eventually, the river was deemed to be one of the most polluted rivers in the United States. Since these toxins are microscopic and are now in the sediment, clean up becomes difficult without further negative impact on the river’s ecosystem. 

So How Can The Public Safely Recreate With the River?

An example of a fish from our Backyard Bass fishing game. Listed on the back of the plastic fish are facts about the Bluegill.

Throughout the summer, I have been a part of setting up pop-up tents at different sites to educate people about safely fishing in the Blackstone River. When we are physically unable to fish, guests have the opportunity to participate in the Backyard Bass fishing game. I enjoy playing this game with guests because on the back of each fish, there is the name and some information about a fish you may find in the Blackstone River. Guests love being able to read a little about the types of fish they may find in the river.  

Another tool that the Mosaics in Science intern has created for us is a biomagnification lesson. Biomagnification focuses on the concentration of toxins in an organism after eating other animals or plants. At the park, we discuss how a small fish will be eaten by a larger fish, then a larger fish will eat that fish. Therefore, it is not a good idea to eat the fish that you catch in the river. This demonstration effectively helps guests envision how toxins can build up in a fish.  

An example of a pop-up tent we may set-up. This one was outside Slater Mill.
Participants fishing at our Vamos a Pascar event at Roger Williams Park.

There have been a couple of opportunities where I have been able to physically fish at different events. These events are fulfilling to me because I may be the person who teaches a young person how to fish, or I may get to witness the joy on their face when they catch their first fish. These moments are exactly what I was hoping for during this internship, and I can’t wait to witness them a few more times before my internship is over.  

Participants fishing at our Vamos a Pascar event at Sycamore Landing.
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