The Wrack: restoration

blog of the wells reserve & laudholm trust

Associated People Clancy Brown

Since 2010, the Wells Reserve has been working with partners to develop an inventory of stream barriers in the small coastal watersheds of York County. These are usually man-made structures that prevent the upstream or downstream movement of fish and other aquatic organisms, due to the fact that stream crossings were not historically designed with fish in mind. The impacts of stream barriers are particularly severe on migratory fish such alewives or salmon, which move from the ocean into rivers to reproduce.

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Goal

To measure the success of several tidal wetland restoration projects around the country.

Project Period

2008 to 2012

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Associated People Tin Smith

The Shoreys Brook dam came out in November 2011, and since then the brook has been steadily carving its way through the sediment that has collected for over a century in the impoundment. Vegetation is starting to take hold in places, but it will be a few years before it begins to look like anything but a large mud pit. As old sediment flushes away, older substrates begin to emerge along the stream bottom, showing signs of what the brook once looked like. Gravel, cobble stones, and even boulders can now be seen littering the stream, which is a positive sign for the restoration team. Rainbow smelt are looking for just this type of stream bottom to lay their eggs on in the early spring.

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Associated People Jacob Aman Jeremy Miller Kate Reichert Tin Smith

On a classic October morning, a research team heads to the Eliot–South Berwick line, where a private landowner has opened his property for a Wells Reserve study of fish and fish habitat. Parking the pickup at the end of a long hayfield, the five gather up gear and step into a middle-aged pine-oak forest, then head downslope past ferns and toppled trees till the trail goes wet underfoot, the canopy breaks, and they stand at the edge of Shoreys Brook. This is headquarters for the next few hours. It is one of eight sites along the brook’s 4.3 miles being surveyed for resident and migratory fish, and their habitat, in advance of a planned dam removal downstream.

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About the Project

In 2008, a group of citizens and conservation groups met to discuss the possibility of returning native migratory fish runs to the Mousam and Kennebunk Rivers. Out of these discussions a plan was formulated to gather information about the historic and current condition of these fish and to begin to spread the word to the local communities. In 2009, Maine Rivers hosted a conference where river stakeholders came together to discuss the rivers and share knowledge. At the same time, the Wells Reserve began monitoring the current status of migratory fish in the rivers.

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