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The Wrack

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

Restoration of migratory fish to the Mousam and Kennebunk rivers

Posted by | January 27, 2010

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.

The groups are now drafting a restoration plan for the Mousam and Kennebunk Rivers, setting out strategies for providing fish passage over barriers, removal of unused and deteriorating dams, conservation and expansion of habitat, and outreach and involvement of the communities.

Project Period

2008 to present

Collaborating Organizations

Maine Rivers


Mousam and Kennebunk River DamsDams on the Mousam and Kennebunk Rivers

Water Quality Monitoring SitesWater Quality Monitoring Sites on the Mousam and Kennebunk Rivers

In the News

Fisheries Assessment

River Herring caught and released in the Mousam River estuary

On May 21 and 22, 2009, the Wells Reserve and enthusiastic volunteers set out on the Mousam River estuary to see what type of fish were in the river. Nets were set in three side channels and fished twice in a 24-hour period. The most abundant species caught was Carcinus maenas, the European green crab, which is an exotic species with a strong foothold in Maine waters. Of the many diadromous species often found in Maine rivers, several adult American eels were caught. In addition, 5 juvenile herring were caught and later identified as Alosa psedoharengus — alewives! This leads us to wonder if alewives are spawning in the Mousam River estuary.

Above is a picture of an adult river herring (either an alewife or a blueback) caught with a dip net further upstream. We put this fish back in the river in the hopes that it might find a place to spawn.

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