The Lloyd Davis Anadromous Fish Trust

                 Alewife Enhancement Project 

 

Medomak River Watershed Barrier and Habitat Survey

Just added!  The Goose River Barrier and Habitat Survey

 

 

 

 

Alewife Enhancement Project

The Amazing Alewife

Barrier and Habitat Surveys

Annual Fish Count

Medomak Alewife Fishery History/Timeline

 

ALEWIFE COUNT UPDATE:
Check out the
2011 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.



ABOUT THE PROJECT

The Medomak River Alewife Enhancement Project (AEP) is a 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

The 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.                                                                      

                                                                                         

THE AMAZING ALEWIFE

Alewives, 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. Alewives and 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.

 

HISTORY OF ALEWIVES IN THE MEDOMAK

The 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.

 

Although 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 removing physical barriers to alewife passage created by the construction of dams, culverts, and other river modifications. In the summer of 2008 a 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 fish passage.

 

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Click here to see a video of the 2007 alewife run.

 

-Washington Pond

2012 ALEWIFE RUN ON THE MEDOMAK

 

* 2012 ALEWIFE COUNT CALENDAR

* SIGN UP FOR A SHIFT *

 

The 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. 

 

Who:     You!
What:    Counting alewives that pass through the weir in the Medomak
Where:  Alewife monitoring station on Mill St. bridge in Waldoboro
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 Jackie at volmvlt@midcoast.com, or call 832-5570.

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BARRIER AND HABITAT SURVEY

A 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.

 

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!

 

The Alewife 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!

 

FISH COUNTERS: Volunteer fish 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 project!

COUNT SUPERVISORS: 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.

NET CLEANING: 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 volmvlt@midcoast.com.

 

 

 CHECK OUT THESE LINKS ON ALEWIVES:

http://www.maine.gov/dmr/searunfish/alewife/index.htm

http://www.fws.gov/northeast/gulfofmaine/downloads/fact_sheets/alewife%20fact%20sheet.pdf

 

CLICK HERE FOR A MEDOMAK RIVER ALEWIFE FISHERY TIMELINE

 

ARTICLES ON THE LLOYD DAVIS TRUST

http://freepressonline.com/main.asp?SectionID=45&SubSectionID=67&ArticleID=6471&TM=9094.131

 

http://knox.villagesoup.com/place/story/record-hopeful-in-medomak-river-alewife-count/390970

 

http://knox.villagesoup.com/sports/story/lincoln-county-fish-and-game-gears-up-for-busy-spring/394043

 

 

The fish count volunteer schedule is now online!
Check it out to see which shifts are available.

Volunteers counters are critical to the success of the Alewife Project.


See alewife count numbers from the 2007 - 2011 runs!