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Make way for alewives

Two historic Penobscot alewife runs now have new fishways to provide safe passage for the small herrings. At Wight’s Pond and Pierce Pond, rock-and-weir construction was used to create pools and steps, one more milestone in the town’s efforts to restore the alewife population. Funding for the $500,000-$600,000 project came from The Nature Conservancy and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, and also private donors, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund and Maine Sea Grant. The drive to restore the partially blocked fishways came from Shellfish Conservation Committee Chairman Bailey Bowden, who established the Penobscot Alewife Committee in 2015. The town then partnered on the project with Maine Coast Heritage Trust. Before, young fish were left floundering and easy prey for bass when trying to swim upward each fall into the ponds as they journeyed to larger waters.

Wight’s Pond fishway

Wight’s Pond fishway

At Wight’s Pond, rock pools begin at Winslow Stream and graduate into the pond, with a new bridge spanning the fishway.

Photo by Anne Berleant

Pierce Pond fishway

Pierce Pond fishway

The fishway at Pierce Pond flows into Mill Stream. New fencing was also built.

Photo by Anne Berleant