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Shimmying Shad & Splashing Sturgeon: River Recovery & Restoration

September 13, 2022 @ 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 is the place where the Kennebec, Androscoggin, Cathance, Muddy, Eastern and  Abagadasset Rivers converge. It is the largest freshwater estuary system north of Chesapeake Bay, draining an astounding 38% of Maine’s fresh water. Biologically, the Bay is classified as freshwater tidal riverine and geologically, as 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 coastal fisheries for cod and other groundfish. Much damage has been done to Maine’s rivers over time. Recovery efforts are underway, driven by both the natural processes of ecological recovery and human 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 rivers feeding Merrymeeting Bay, efforts to restore the rivers and their fish populations, and the role of dam relicensing in these efforts.

John is a Professor Emeritus of Biology and Environmental Studies at Bowdoin College. He is former director of the Environmental Studies Program and has studied the ecology and history of Merrymeeting Bay and the river systems for twenty years. He also serves as chair of BTLT’s Stewardship Committee.

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 the Spring of 2023 join CREA, BTLT and Charlie Spies for part two of this series – a presentation on the dam relicensing process, and information about how you can participate in dam relicensings in our area.

Sturgeon photo credit: Kari Hiestad


September 13, 2022
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Category:


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