NEWS- Imprinted: School kids release fish schools

Close to 100 school kids released 400,000 shad fry into the Rivanna River, and if all goes well, in a few years these same children might meet up again with some of these same shad, spawning away in the waters near Darden Towe Park.

Children from Stone Robinson Elementary helped with the April 19 release of thousands of just-hatched shad. "They look like threads with eyes," says Rivanna Conservation Society member Jason Halbert, whose efforts to partially breach the Woolen Mills dam will make it possible for some of these shad to return. Maybe.

The mortality rate is high for shad. They swim down to the sea, where they spend their adult lives. Only one-half to one percent will make it back up the Rivanna to Darden Towe four to six years from now to spawn and die, according to Halbert.

The tiny transparent fry released last week were treated with a dose of tetracycline, which changes the color of their ear bones. That will allow biologists to tell whether any survivor shad came from this release– although the "survivors" must be decapitated to make the determination.

Will the Rivanna once again teem with the silvery fish who've been absent for the past 150 years? Check back in 2011.

Chris Jackson, a fourth-grader from Stone Robinson Elementary, holds a bag of fry to be dumped in the river.