River Herring on the Return

A workshop on restoration efforts in eastern Maine

Chris Bartlett, Friday, April 14, 2017


Taunton Bay Education Center

Gordon’s Wharf, Sullivan, ME

Bring your insights and questions to a discussion of river herring restoration in eastern Maine. All are welcome!

Join us to discuss:

  • How does river herring habitat differ from one stream or river to another? How might this affect restoration efforts?
  • Where do juvenile river herring go once they leave freshwater? And whose lunch do they become?
  • What are the benefits to local communities of restoring river herring runs?
  • What’s the status of restoration efforts?

The workshop is free and lunch is included. Please register by April 11 so we know how much food to provide!

Progress and Potential

Downeast Fisheries: Progress and Potential

Sea run fish are on the rebound, scallops are providing a productive winter fishery, and momentum for fisheries restoration is growing. Join us for an update – and to help chart a sustainable future for eastern Maine’s fishing communities.

Please join us for our upcoming workshop:

October 27th, 9am-4pm

Schoodic Institute

Winter Harbor, ME

The workshop is free. Registration is required.

Click here to register!


Kids and Fish: Teachable Moments

Downeast Salmon Federation (DSF) has a brand new, state of the art, mobile fish smokehouse. Brett Ciccotelli, DSF’s “Alewife Ambassador”, is taking the smoker on the road, demonstrating production of smoked alewives, a Downeast delicacy, and talking about the role of alewives in river and coastal ecosystems. This work is part of a broader campaign to ensure that kids – and adults – in eastern Maine have the opportunity to learn about fisheries at every stage of their educational journeys. Last fall Downeast Fisheries Partnership (DFP) held a workshop, “Taking Fisheries to School”, that helped to kick start collaborative, fisheries-related educational programming. A report describing the workshop is now available. One result of the DFP workshop is that DSF and the Maine Seacoast Mission are working together to engage kids in the  Mission’s EdGE program in “fishy” activities.

IMG_0343Brett brought students from the Rose Gaffney Elementary School in Machias along with two counselors from EdGE Program to the Pokey Dam fishway on the East Machias River. The students explored the river below the dam, along the lakeshore, and used one of DSF’s new underwater cameras to check on migrating fish. They also explored the alewife migration at Meddybemps Stream using another underwater camera; according to Brett, “Looking at the camera’s feed we got to see lots of fish swimming around below the surface.”  At the East Machias Aquatic Research Center, the students cleaned and scaled fresh alewives, so they could smoke their own fish in the mobile smoker.

On another day, it was the Cherryfield EdGE program students’ turn to EdGEPokeyexplore with Brett. They drove through the blueberry barrens to the Bog Brook Flowage on the Narraguagus. Students launched kayaks on the upstream side of a dam and small fishway. Brett noted, “We got to see a few large schools of young of the year alewives heading downstream before we headed out into the flowage’s stumpy, shallow maze.” After their kayaking adventure, back at EdGE in Cherryfield they walked down to the tidal portion of the Narraguagus and Brett helped students to draw a link between the upper and lower reaches of the river.  As with the first group of students, “no trip is complete without a bloater feast!” Brett said, “which we used to accompany a conversation about the importance of alewives to the natural and human environment as ‘the fish that feeds all.’”

Programs like these are vital for engaging students in the restoration of local aquatic habitat and associated fisheries and important in helping students become effective stewards of the fish and fisheries so important to Downeast coastal communities.


Educators share ideas to increase fisheries knowledge

100_0647 (002)

Taking Fisheries to School: A Fisheries Education Workshop

The Downeast Fisheries Partnership (DFP) hosted a workshop in October to facilitate efforts to expand fisheries education in eastern Maine. The workshop brought together 30 people representing 18 different organizations and provided a platform for participants to brainstorm how to build fisheries-related topics into existing educational programs in both school-based and extracurricular settings.

As Anne Hayden, DFP Coordinator, noted in opening the workshop, the overall goal of this effort is to provide opportunities for children and adults to learn about fisheries at every stage of the educational continuum—from kindergarten to community-based adult education programming. In the long term, such opportunities have the potential to prepare children and adults to be stewards of their local ecosystems and fisheries.

The event was held at Schoodic Institute in Winter Harbor, Maine. Educators, members of the public and other professionals interested in fisheries education discussed how to connect existing programs and individuals to expand fisheries knowledge, in and out of schools. Representatives from the Eastern Maine Skippers Program, Island Readers and Writers, Cobscook Community Learning Center, and Schoodic Institute, gave brief presentations providing a big picture view of students’ exposure to fisheries.  For example, Michael Guidilli, from the Cobscook Community Learning Center’s high school program noted that they “use fisheries to leverage data literacy skills – collecting and processing data – and for modeling how to understand systems and how they change.”  In the discussion that followed, participants underscored that their focus on fisheries is not intended to provide vocational training but rather the knowledge and critical thinking skills required of any student.

Regarding ways to expand fisheries education, it was pointed out that challenges were also sometimes opportunities.  For example, school systems in eastern Maine are under severe budget constraints. But for that same reason, they are often willing to work with collaborators to expand their educational offerings.

Knowledge and experience-sharing was strong throughout the workshop and fostered new connections while strengthening existing ones.  Such relationships can help expand and improve fisheries-related educational programming in eastern Maine.  Charlie Harrington, Director of the Maine Sea Coast Mission’s after-school and summer kids’ programs, summed up the motivation for tackling this work collaboratively: “We’ve been through lots of school reform….what we have done well is what we have done together.”

Wabanaki REACH Ally Training

On Saturday, April 18th, from 9:00am to 4:00pm, Wabanaki REACH Ally Training will be taking place at the Cobscook Community Learning Center in Trescott Township, Maine.  This training is designed for non-Native people and it will provide an opportunity to reflect on the shared history and future with Native people.  Space is limited for this event.  Register by contacting Barbara Kates at barbara@mainewabanakireach.org or at 207-947-6858.

Please see the Event Flyer for more information about this event.  If you are interested in learning more about Wabanaki REACH, please visit their website at http://mainewabanakireach.org/

Cobscook Community High School Students Getting Their Feet Wet!


Since October 2014, students in the Cobscook Community High School (CCHS) program have been engaged in an experimental clam project that tests the clam’s ability to thrive in a variety of substrates.  CCHS partnered with the Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Research and Education (DEI) to learn about clam life history, algae propagation, and hatchery operations.  Afterwards, the students began growing algae in preparation for raising the DEI clams in their classroom.  Later this spring, the students will analyze the clams to measure rate of growth in each substrate. They will follow this project with planting their clams in the flats on Straight Bay to monitor clam growth in natural conditions. This project allows students to actively think about the scientific process of designing experiments as well as understanding the biological life history of shellfish.  This is just one of the many amazing projects these talented educators and their bright students have been working on throughout the school year.

CCHS is a program of the Cobscook Community Learning Center (CCLC), based in Trescott Township.  The program focuses on experiential learning through expeditions, service projects, and community engagement to build students’ leadership, outdoor, academic, and personal skills.  CCHS also partners with many other organizations to expose students to a wide variety of topics and learning experiences throughout Washington County and the state of Maine.  To learn more about the Cobscook Community High School and/or the Learning Center, visit www.cclc.me or call 207-733-2233.

Photo by Anne Berleant, courtesy of the Castine Patriot.

Town of Penobscot Working to Restore Alewife Run

Photo by Anne Berleant, courtesy of the Castine Patriot.

The town of Penobscot has recently formed its own Alewife Committee to work towards re-establishing its commercial alewife fishery.  They recently met with Claire Enterline from Maine Department of Marine Resources to discuss how to make re-opening of the alewife runs a reality.  Bailey Bowden, who led in the formation of the Penobscot Alewife Committee, attended the Downeast Fisheries Partnership Alewife Restoration Workshop that was held on January 21, 2015.  On the basis of what Bowden learned there – and the connections he made with other “alewife activists” – he was inspired to push for Penobscot to regain the right to manage its alewife runs.  Through the work of Bowden and others, alewives have a chance to make a comeback; and not just for today, but for generations into the future.

To read the full article about the Penobscot Alewife Committee in the Castine Patriot, please visit their website.

Scholarships Available to Marine Science Undergraduate Students

The Maine Sea Grant is offering scholarships to college undergraduate students studying Marine Science at any of the five participating institutions.  Those participating are: College of the Atlantic, Maine Maritime Academy, , University of Maine, University of Maine at Machias, and University of New England.

For more information about eligibility and how to apply, please visit http://www.seagrant.umaine.edu/funding/msg-undergraduate-scholarship.

The deadline for applications is Monday, April 27, 2015 at 5:00pm.

Somes-Meynell Wildlife Sanctuary seeking new Director!

The Somes-Meynell Wildlife Sanctuary (SMWS) is seeking a new director to lead programming and operations at their 230-acre wildlife sanctuary on Mount Desert Island, Maine.  Interested applicants should send a letter and resume to: SMWS Director Search Committee, SMWS, P.O. Box 171, Mount Desert, ME 04660.  The deadline for applications is March 15, 2015!  Click here to see the full SMWS Director Position Description.  For more information about the Somes-Meynell Wildlife Sanctuary, go to www.somesmeynell.org.