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Shimmying Shad & Splashing Sturgeon: River Recovery & Restoration

6:00 pm - 7:30 pm



Join Cathance River Education Alliance, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, John Lichter and Renske Kerkhofs for a presentation on the recovery efforts on the rivers of Merrymeeting Bay. This is part one of a two part series.

Merrymeeting Bay brings together the convergence of the Kennebec, Androscoggin, Cathance, Muddy, Eastern and the Abagadasset Rivers. It is the largest freshwater estuary system north of Chesapeake Bay; it drains an astounding 38% of Maine’s fresh water. Biologically, the Bay is classified freshwater tidal riverine and geologically, an inland delta.

Merrymeeting Bay is a resource of international significance: it is the largest staging ground for migratory waterfowl in the northeast, it is the only estuary providing spawning and nursery habitat for all diadromous fish species in the Gulf of Maine, and it is home to a number of rare and endangered plant, and animal species.

Maine rivers support the marine food web in ways that have not been fully appreciated, especially the coastal fisheries for cod and other groundfish. Much damage has been done to Maines rivers over time, a partial recovery effort is underway driven by both the natural processes of ecological recovery and substantial restoration efforts. In time, recovery of sea-run fish such as alewife and shad should stimulate recovery of nearshore cod populations.

Join John Lichter and Renske Kerkhofs for a presentation on the history of the rivers around Merrymeeting Bay, the recovery work being done on them, the dam relicensing process, and the fish counts in our rivers.

John is a professor Emeritus of Biology and Environmental Studies at Bowdoin College. He is the former director of the Environmental Studies Program and studied ecology and history of Merrymeeting Bay and the river systems for twenty years. He is the chair of the Stewardship Committee for the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust.

Renske is a junior at Bowdoin College, she grew up in Belgium and Costa Rica before coming to Maine for her undergraduate degree. She is majoring in Biology and Asian Studies, and is passionate about marine biology, environmental conservation, and languages.

This presentation will take place on Zoom. Attendance is free but registration is required.


In Spring of 2023 join CREA, BTLT and Charlie Spies for part two of this series for a presentation on the dam relicensing process, and learn about how you can get involved in dam relicensing in our area.

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