Alewife Enhancement Project
The Amazing Alewife
Barrier and Habitat Surveys
Annual Fish Count
Medomak Alewife Fishery History/Timeline
Check out the
daily totals here.
2012 brought dangerously high water levels throughout most of
the run, prohibiting us from safely and successfully putting the
counting station in. Scale samples have been taken throughout the
2012 season, giving us some insight on the health of the Medomak's
alewives, including age class, annual survival and percentage of
repeat spawners. Let's all hope for safe
water levels during the 2012 Alewife run.
River Alewife Enhancement Project (AEP)
local effort to develop and maintain a healthy alewife run that can
serve as a forage base for the Medomak River and sustain a limited
annual harvest. The project was begun in 1983 by the Lloyd Davis
Anadromous Fish Trust, and has been supported in part by the Gulf of
Maine Council and NOAA.
ANNUAL FISH COUNT
Medomak River AEP is conducting a multi-year study to assess the
population of alewives currently utilizing the Medomak River
ecosystem for spawning. Each May when the alewives begin their
journey up the Medomak, a net is placed across the river with a
small gate that can be opened or closed to let fish through.
Volunteers work two-hour shifts counting alewives from the counting
station on Mill Street in Waldoboro. The data gathered will be used to
track changes in the alewife population and determine the health of
the Medomak River alewife fishery.
Alosa pseudoharengus, are a type of river herring. The
species is anadromous, which means they spend most of their lives in
the ocean but migrate to fresh water in the spring to spawn in
coastal rivers and streams.
other river herring contribute to the health, diversity, and
productivity of coastal ecosystems in many ways. When they return
inland to spawn, alewives transfer enormous amounts of nutrients and
energy from the ocean to coastal rivers and lakes. Migratory
alewives and their offspring also provide a key forage base for
other fish species, including striped bass, northern pike, pickerel,
and trout, as well as predatory birds such as eagles and gulls.
Alewives can also be harvested commercially, but the Medomak alewife
fishery has been open only intermittently since the 1950s and was
officially closed in 2005 to preserve the dwindling numbers of
ALEWIVES IN THE MEDOMAK
Medomak River once supported large runs of five
commercially-important anadromous fish species, the most abundant of
which was the alewife. The falls were renowned as an Abenaki fishing
destination and earned the Medomak its name, which means "place of
many alewives". Extensive damming of the river in the early 1800's,
combined with overfishing and pollution from sawmills, resulted in
severely reduced numbers of all anadromous fish species and eventual
extirpation of Atlantic salmon and shad.
the alewife has persisted in the Medomak, their numbers have yet to
approach those seen by early settlers. Recent efforts of the AEP
have focused on understanding the population of the existing Medomak
River alewife run and
physical barriers to alewife passage created by the construction of
dams, culverts, and other river modifications.
In the summer of 2008
habitat survey was conducted by Erin Spencer to identify barriers to
alewife passage as well as important spawning habitat areas. This
summer, Janet McMahon will continue this effort by surveying the
Goose River, another important alewife run in the watershed. These
surveys are especially important because they allow the Lloyd Davis
Trust to focus their restoration efforts on the largest barriers to
here to see a video of the 2007 alewife run.
RUN ON THE MEDOMAK
2012 ALEWIFE COUNT CALENDAR
SIGN UP FOR A SHIFT
2012 alewife run has been postponed due to dangerously high waters.
2012 marks the 6th year of the annual alewife count, and once again we'll need a
good group of volunteers to make it possible.
What: Counting alewives that pass through the weir
in the Medomak
Where: Alewife monitoring station on Mill St. bridge in
When: 2-hr shift anytime between 10 am and 8 pm from May
17 -Jun 15
Why: The data gathered will be used to track
changes in the alewife population and determine the health of the
Medomak River alewife fishery, with the hopes of someday sustaining
a limited annual harvest.
We'll need the most volunteers in
mid to late
May. If you'd like to take part in the 2012 alewife count, we
welcome your help!
Click here for a calendar of volunteer shifts.
For more information, or to
sign up for a volunteer shift, send an email to
barrier and habitat survey of the Goose River was recently completed
by local ecologist Janet McMahon. The survey details any and
all barriers to alewife along the Goose River. This is the
second barrier and habitat survey that the Lloyd Davis Trust has had
done in the Medomak watershed. These surveys allow the trust
to focus their efforts on key sections of the river, and when the
time comes for grant writing, these surveys are excellent additions
to any grant application. To view the surveys, see the links
on the top of this page.
Project relies entirely on volunteers to conduct the annual fish
count. This project is a huge undertaking, and we need lots of help
to ensure that accurate data is gathered!
counters work 2-hour shifts counting alewives from a platform below
the Mill St. bridge in Waldoboro. This is a great opportunity to
witness the spring alewife run and help out with a really neat
We are looking
for volunteer supervisors who can meet new volunteers at the
counting station, pick up equipment at the end of the day, and be on
call in case anything goes wrong.
The net will
need to be cleaned daily, and we are looking for volunteers who can
help with this task.
To sign up, or for more information
about any of these tasks or how you can get involved, contact Jackie
Stratton at 832-5570 or
CHECK OUT THESE LINKS
MEDOMAK RIVER ALEWIFE FISHERY
ARTICLES ON THE LLOYD DAVIS
fish count volunteer schedule
is now online!
Check it out to see which shifts are available.
counters are critical to the success of the Alewife Project.
alewife count numbers
from the 2007 - 2011 runs!