'Tails of the Kennebec & Sebasticook'

Posted Wednesday, April 4, 2012 in Culture

'Tails of the Kennebec & Sebasticook'

BRUNSWICK — The Friends of Merrymeeting Bay will hold the seventh presentation in its Winter Speaker Series this Tuesday, April 10, in Brunswick’s Curtis Memorial Library. At 7 p.m., Nate Gray, a fisheries restoration biologist with the Maine Department of Marine Resources, will deliver a talk on "Tails of the Kennebec and Sebasticook.”

River herring — generally considered to include alewives, blueback herring and sometimes American shad — are probably the most important fish species in the Gulf of Maine. But what about cod, you might ask? Quite simply, river herring are considered a critical forage stock and keystone fish species. Without river herring, no cod. If river herring cannot safely and effectively reach their spawning grounds (typically shallow freshwater bodies), spawn and leave, a critical food source for Gulf of Maine groundfish is greatly diminished and the ocean fishery suffers further. River herring are now known to transport vast amounts of nutrients from the ocean to interior Maine and from interior Maine back to the sea. This presentation will celebrate these important fish while detailing their trials, tribulations and ongoing recovery efforts.

Nate Gray is project leader for the Kennebec Hydropower Developers Group program through the Maine Department of Marine Resources, Bureau of Sea Run Fisheries and Habitat. He has worked extensively on the Kennebec River and its tributaries since 1992 and been involved in virtually all aspects of the restoration program. He witnessed the removal of Edwards Dam in Augusta in 1999 and has seen the populations of river herring rise from 100,000 to over 3 million with the installation of multiple fish passages and the opening of thousands of acres of historical habitat in the Kennebec drainage. Gray has also worked extensively on American shad restoration in the Kennebec River and was actively involved in the Waldoboro Shad Hatchery from 1992 to 2007.

The FOMB Winter Speaker Series takes place monthly from October to May on the second Tuesday or Wednesday of the month. The series, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by Friends of Merrymeeting Bay with support and valuable door prizes from Patagonia Outlet in Freeport. This season’s final FOMB presentation, on May 8 at Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, is entitled “Direct Action on the High Seas”  and will feature Capt. Paul Watson, director of the Sea Shepard Conservation Society, subject of the popular television program "Whale Wars." Note this is a venue change and due to the hall rental fee, a minimum $5 donation will be requested.

To receive more information on FOMB’s programs call Ed Friedman, Chair, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay, at 666-3372 or edfomb@comcast.net. Full speaker schedule and speaker biographies are available on the web at www.friendsofmerrymeetingbay.org.

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