Eels and crabs too, and scientists are assessing the health of their populations in the Lower Passaic River. Researchers are snagging specimens with nets, processing them at a makeshift lab in East Rutherford then sending tissue samples on to a Massachusetts lab for analysis. The goal to determine how Passaic River wildlife is handling Passaic River toxins. The federal EPA is supervising the fish study, which is being paid for by The Lower Passaic Cooperating Parties, the group of 73 companies that the EPA considers responsible for the industrial contamination in the Passaic River downstream of Garfield’s Dundee Dam. Pollutants include heavy metals, PCBs and, of course, the massive concentrations of dioxin in the river sediments near the old Diamond Alkali plant in Newark. Once scientists finish sampling Passaic River fish, crabs and eels, they’ll start looking at the Passaic’s populations of fish- and crab-eating birds. The wildlife assessment is all part of the Diamond Superfund cleanup, whose headliner project gins up next fall when crews will begin dredging 40,000 cubic yards of dioxin-laced sediments from the riverbed in Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood.