The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

Post-restoration Monitoring in Shoreys Brook continued...

Posted by | June 29, 2012

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.

rainbow smelt

And sure enough, arriving right on time according to local knowledge, the smelt finally show up in the first week of April. Not too many, but enough to say, "they're here, they're spawning." Meticulous surveys of the gravel beds even uncover a few eggs, though the sediment-choked water won't support them too long. When the system settles a bit, vegetation taking hold and retaining more of the mud and silt, conditions will again be favorable for the eggs, and there will now be additional space for them to grow, hatch, and eventually return as spawning adult smelt.

Next steps for restoration include the replacement of two upstream culverts that present a barrier to further migration of smelt. Eventually, smelt could spawn all the way up to Route 236 in South Berwick. If these projects get underway in 2012, the smelt may get a chance next spring.

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