Alewife Fish Ladders — pat morss

A few days ago we visited the Damariscotta Mills Fish Ladder Restoration in Newcastle, Maine. Some online investigation (very incomplete) turned up interesting information. The Damariscotta Fish ladder was built around the mills in 1807, and reconsted two centuries later between 2007 and 2017. As reported by GMG, construction at the smaller West Gloucester Alewife/Herring fish ladder on Little River, allowing spawning above in Lily Pond, was completed in 2018. It appears SumCO eco contractors and/or Becker Construction had a hand in both projects (need clarification).

Here are some photos from our Damariscotta Fish Ladder visit. The site was not staffed, and access was limited. Their website is: damarascottamills.org

Alewife assembling from the ocean, viewed from the highway bridge
Dense pack, with tens of thousands of Alewives on each side of the bridge
Clearer shallow water closer to the falls
Looking upstream to the falls, with the fish ladder around the falls hidden to the right
The lower portion of the fish ladder, open that day to the public, rising toward Damariscotta Lake
The barrier at the bottom of the falls
Plenty of fish were attempting the direct route through the barrier to the impenetrable falls
My understanding is that enough fish eventually find the alternate, and navigable, fish ladder route
This Great Blue Heron was surveying the menu, as a couple of Bald Eagles circled overhead

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