“Running Silver” by John Waldman

December 22, 2013 By: Erin Block

Running Silver, a new book by John Waldman, covers the biology, history, and conservation of historic runs of migratory fish in Atlantic rivers. Called “a brilliant and heartbreaking book” by The Nature Conservancy’s Green blog, Running Silver is published by Lyons Press and available for purchase now.

Read more in the press release below. 

Running Silver: Restoring Atlantic Rivers and their Great Fish Migrations by John Waldman now available

For immediate release: December 28, 2013

Ever wonder what pristine runs of migratory fish in Atlantic rivers looked like to early colonists?  Some saw so many salmon, shad, alewives and other species that they said the waters “ran silver” with fish as they swam upstream to spawn.  And they were caught in numbers we can hardly imagine anymore—one single net haul of shad and river herring in 1827 on the Susquehanna River was estimated to contain 15 million fish. Today, the total run sizes of shad and river herring for a whole season on the Susquehanna and other rivers may number only in the hundreds or low thousands.

RunningSilverJohn Waldman’s Running Silver—six years in the writing and containing a lifetime of experiences as an angler, scientist, and conservationist—covers the biology, history, and conservation of these species, plus striped bass, sturgeon, eels and the others that complete grand migrations between fresh and salt waters.  This includes the evolution of these unique life cycles, the many ingenious ways that Indians and colonists fished for these species, ‘fish wars’ between mill dam operators and fishermen, the ravages of damming, pollution, and overfishing, and newer concerns such as climate change, power plant water withdrawals, and the introduction of non-native species. Along the way Waldman shows that fish ladders and hatcheries are not the answer to restoring these fish, that overfishing and warming seas may lead to fewer ‘giants of the rivers,’ and even how our long-held ideas of what a natural river should look like are wrong.

Waldman includes many of own field experiences researching these species, from tagging sturgeon to collecting striped bass with haul seines in the ocean surf; these accounts show, first hand, the promise and frustrations with restoring these fish.  And yet he sees hope, ending on an optimistic note by providing ten important ideas to help make rivers run silver once more.

The Nature Conservancy’s Green blog called Running Silver “a brilliant and heartbreaking book” and the same reviewer wrote that Running Silver is “one of the most important conservation books he’s read in years.”  Running Silver is published by Lyons Press and is available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, book stores, and by telephoning the publisher at 888-249-7586.