Maine Rivers is spearheading efforts to improve fish passage in the Medomak watershed, including alewife passage into and out of Washington Pond as well as at numerous other sites. Maine Rivers has been collaborating with energetic local volunteers from the Medomak Brook Connection, with a vision to continue a restoration success story that started in the 1980s.
Medomak is the Abenaki word for “place of many alewives,” although by the early 1800s at least 22 dams in the Medomak River decimated the formerly prolific runs of diadromous species. The Lloyd Davis Trust started a fisheries restoration program in 1980 to rejuvenate alewife and blueback herring populations by working on the lower falls of the Medomak River, with some success and our work builds on those successes. The Town of Waldoboro actively supports work that could lead to re-establishing an alewife harvest.
Three ponds make up the most significant historic spawning habitat of alewife and blueback herring in the Medomak watershed. Washington Pond (551 acres) is the largest, followed by Medomak Pond (237 acres) and Little Medomak Pond (75 acres).
The target fish population for this project is river herring (alewife: Alosa pseudohargus and Blueback herring: Alosa aestivalis). Our goal is to establish safe, timely and effective fish passage for river herring and other diadromous species to and from Washington Pond to support an annual run via the 3.5 mile Little Medomak Stream. The pond was historically accessible to alewives and has been stocked in recent years by Maine DMR in anticipation of this restoration work. Other species that will benefit include American eel (Anguilla rostrata), American shad (Alosa sapidissima), Sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus), white sucker (Catostomus commersonii), Brook trout and sea-run Brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis).