April 24, 2016 - The fish are coming-soon!
Last evening a big school of alewives was spotted in Salt Bay by the railroad trestle where the fish typically bunch up prior to swimming under the trestle, under the road bridge, and on up into the fish ladder. That school didn't come in last night or today but their arrival in the bay is a strong signal that the run will begin soon, as long as the days remain sunny and sort of warm.
The water temperature in the fish ladder was 56 degrees last night while the water temperature by the railroad trestle was 53.6 degrees. Alewives get their "spawning buttons" pushed when water temperatures are in the 50s and they are driven to spawn immediately when the water temperature is in the 60s. So....look for fish soon and let's hope for a great run this year!!!
March 10, 2016 - Save the dates for the 9th annual Fish Ladder Restoration Festival!
The Fish Ladder Restoration Festival will again be held on Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday May 28 and Sunday, May 29. In addition to the festival, there will be 5K and 10K road races on Sunday, May 29 beginning at 8am-- To register: http://www.runinarace.com/Alewives/index.html. And, check out our Events & Calendar page for info on our DESIGN A T-SHIRT contest and the Adam Ezra Concert!
Winter 2015-2016 Work on the Fish Ladder
We worked at the top of the fish ladder late last fall and trough the earl part of the winter. Most importantly, we worked on the top pools, repairing the pool bottom in the uppermost pool and and re-building the back wall of pools 2 and 3. This huge wall, which holds back a great weight of water, has been leaking for years. It fell outside of the scope of our initial work in this locale but has now become a priority. In addition to the work at the top, we re-built two leaking walls adjacent to the Williams' backyard.
The fish ladder will require on-going maintenance so we'll be raising money for a while yet as we complete rock siding all concrete walls and tweak and repair the new structure. We are grateful for everyone's help, in the past and every day!!!
(Scroll down for directions to the fish ladder.)
We (and the fish!) are grateful for all the help we've had for the restoration. We couldn't be doing it without the commitment and perseverance of our wonderful fish ladder community! And, we are grateful for grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Elmina Sewell Foundation, the Horizon Foundation, the Davis Conservation Foundation, the Edward Myers Conservation Trust and from support from many individuals and businesses!!
Take the Damariscotta exit to business Route 1. Go straight at the stop sign just past the Congregational Church. Take Route 215 north for approximately 1.6 miles. Look for a parking area just past the Austin Road on the left. Or, take the next left into the Fish House parking lot. Follow the path behind the fish house and you are there. Coming south on Route 1, take the Damariscotta exit and take a right on Rt 215 across from the Louis Doe Home Center. The parking lots decribed above are about 1.3 miles on left.
Welcome to historic Damariscotta Mills, Maine – home of one of Maine’s oldest and most productive alewife fisheries. The fish ladder was constructed by the Towns of Nobleboro and Newcastle in 1807 at the state’s request after mills had blocked access to the fresh water falls for nearly a century. In 2007, after two centuries of use, the fish ladder needed a major restoration and the project was initiated by the Towns in collaboration with the Nobleboro Historical Society. Restoration of the fish ladder is critical to the health of the Damariscotta River alewife stocks. Alewives are an important part of the food chain and they contribute to the health of the marine environment and to the lakes and streams where the fish spawn. In the spring, alewives serve as a source of fresh bait for local lobstermen who are setting out gear after a winter ashore. The Towns of Newcastle and Nobleboro have harvested alewives since the 1700s and, by balancing conservation and economic goals, they have carefully tended the Damariscotta River alewife stocks. Today, all funds received for harvested alewives are spent to maintain and restore the fish ladder and harvesting area.