VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED FOR THE 2016 NEQUASSET ALEWIFE COUNT
The alewives are back, making their annual spring trek from the Gulf of Maine to Maine’s streams lakes. The return of the alewives means the start of the fish count at Nequasset Lake. From now through early June, volunteers are needed every day to count the fish that successfully make it into Nequasset Lake to spawn. Counting is a fun activity for both children and adults. Sign up to count and learn how at http://kennebecestuary.org/2016-nequasset-fish-count.
Alewife counting is exciting! Volunteers stand at the top of Nequasset dam and watch the fish power themselves over the last weir of the fish ladder into the lake, counting each fish is it goes past. Counting is broken into 2 hour blocks between 6am and 8pm. Each fish counter signs up for a 2 hour block and counts fish for two 10 minute periods in that block.
Eagles, herons, ospreys, mink, and loons have all been sighted by previous fish counters at Nequasset Dam. Volunteers may also get to see an active alewife harvest. Nequasset Lake has been the site of a sustainable alewife harvest in Woolwich, Maine for hundreds of years. Lobstermen still come to the site to buy bait, and smoked alewives are sold for 75 cents apiece. Volunteers who count fish help contribute to the sustainability of the harvest and the Nequasset alewife population.
The Kennebec Estuary Land Trust has coordinated the alewife count at Nequasset Lake since 2012. In fall of 2014, a new ladder was built to replace a crumbling fish ladder from the 1950s. This year’s count will also help assess the function of the new ladder.
Alewives are important for lake health and Gulf of Maine fisheries. They form the base of an extensive food chain. They are food for fish like striped bass, tuna, cod, haddock, halibut, smallmouth bass, pickerel, and yellow perch. They are also food for birds and mammals, like bald eagles, ospreys, great blue herons, cormorants, seals, whales, mink, raccoons, and fishers. As a result of the mild winter, alewives have arrived back at Maine’s streams earlier than the last few years.
If you have any questions about the Nequasset alewife count, contact Ruth Indrick at the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust at email@example.com or 207-442-8400.
The Kennebec Estuary Land Trust is a membership supported organization dedicated to protecting the land, water and wildlife of the Kennebec Estuary. It maintains nine preserves for public enjoyment and has protected 2,668 acres of land since founding in 1989. FMI visit www.kennebecestuary.org or call (207) 442-8400.
If you would like more information, please contact Ruth Indrick at 442-8400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Credit: Ruth Indrick
Caption: Join in the fun and volunteer to count fish at the Nequasset fish ladder in 2016! Sign up at: http://kennebecestuary.org/2016-nequasset-fish-count
Photo Credit: Ruth Indrick
Caption: Fish count volunteers have seen ospreys, eagles, loons and more at the Nequasset fish ladder.