The Frenchman Bay Watershed serves as habitat for important migratory fish species which are dependent on both freshwater and marine habitats for completing their life cycles. Of particular interest to the Partners are alewives, which migrate from the sea to spawn in ponds and lakes and are an important food source for many organisms, and American eels, which migrate to the sea to spawn and the returning juvenile elvers are harvested and are of high economic value.
Using the information available at the November 8, 2012, goal-setting session, it was determined that there are currently there 3 out of 5 alewife runs unobstructed on Frenchman Bay. These runs include Grist Milland Card Mill Stream (Franklin) and Flanders Stream (Sullivan).
Goal 1: Restore fish runs on Jones Stream (Gouldsboro) and Morancy Stream (Sullivan), which have a known history of alewives, and maintain all five alewife runs.
After a meeting of several groups with expertise and knowledge of diadromous fishes in the area in April, 2013, the goal should be revised in accordance with an assessment of the migratory populations in each of these streams.
Strategies underway to achieve Goal 1:
- Alewife monitoring: In the spring of 2013, alewife monitoring was conducted at Flanders Stream with support from the Maine Department of Marine Resources, where a connectivity project was completed by the town of Sullivan in the fall of 2012. This project was led by Gary Edwards in Sullivan, and should improve access to 535 acres of lake habitat and 3 miles of riverine habitat for migratory fishes. Monitoring will help to evaluate whether or not fish passage is effective and monitoring over time will provide information on alewife population status.
- Implement projects which facilitate fish passage: Opening the alewife run on Jones Stream is in the very preliminary stages of discussion and planning, but there has been some local support for opening the alewife run on this stream.
- Assess migratory populations and dam/culvert inventory: Additional strategies will include assessing the migratory populations in each of these streams as well as making sure that the information we have on the locations of dams and culverts in the watershed is current, as these are potential barriers to fish passage.
A telephone press conference on the National Wildlife Foundation’s report “Swimming Upstream: Freshwater Fish in a Warming World” and its implications for Maine and New Hampshire aired on WERU News Report on September 4, 2013. George Smith, former executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, Dylan Voorhees clean energy director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine, Wildlife biologist Eric Orff of the National Wildlife Foundation and New Hampshire sports-shop owner Jason McKenzie discuss the impacts of climate change on sea-run brook trout and on businesses and the need for the business community and the federal government to get involved in protecting fish habitat. Read the NFW report here.