I’m excited to share with you the first edition of “Notes from the Coast,” where we’ll delve into a particular topic area, share thoughts and questions we’re exploring at Maine Coast Heritage Trust, and celebrate the impact we’re able to achieve thanks to your support.
We couldn’t do this work without you!
MCHT President and CEO
A CONSERVATION PARTNER I’D LIKE YOU TO MEET
B A I L E Y B O W D E N
Chair of the Town of Penobscot Alewife Committee
Bailey Bowden grew up playing on the Bagaduce River and can’t remember a time when he didn’t know what an alewife was, or why it was important. “An alewife is always something’s lunch,” he says. When fishing for alewife became heavily regulated due to their reduced numbers, Bailey set out to fix the problem.
In 2015, he connected with MCHT’s Ciona Ulbrich and together they began an ambitious project to restore passage throughout the Bagaduce watershed.
His knowledge of place and deep roots in the community were key to the project’s success, and now he’s focusing efforts on connecting local kids to their environment. “The kids are teaching their parents about fish,” he says. “There’s a change in attitude, we’re evolving. This project helped inspire that change.”
DID YOU KNOW?
For thousands of years, alewife, an anadromous fish that swim into freshwater streams and ponds annually to spawn before returning to sea, have fed us all—from people to bears to otters to eagles to lobsters.
More recently, dams and poorly constructed culverts have blocked passage, severely limiting alewife numbers and impacting food chains and ecosystems.
Below is some information about this important fish species we’re helping bring back to Maine waters.
An adult female produces about 100,000 eggs when she spawns.
Alewife usually return to the same pond in which they were born.
Adult alewife are preferred bait for the spring lobster and halibut fisheries.
Learn more about alewife in A Watershed Moment, the film about the Bagaduce River watershed restoration effort, at mcht.org/watershed.
Top photo courtesy of Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries
Photo of Kate: Katherine Emery
Photo of Bailey: Molly Haley