Shad and alewives. The goal of the Strategic Plan and Operational Plan for the Restoration of Shad and Alewives to the Kennebec River above Augusta is:
"to restore the alewife and shad resources to their historical range in the Kennebec River System."
The following objectives addressing this goal have been developed. They are:
I. To achieve an annual production of 6.0 million alewives above Augusta.
II. To achieve an annual production of 725,000 shad above Augusta.
These objectives are based on the projected potential of the Kennebec River from Augusta to the lower dam in Madison including the Sebasticook River, Sandy River, Seven Mile Stream, and Wesserunsett Stream.
The strategy developed to meet these objectives involves restoration planned in two phases. They are:
Phase I (January 1, 1986 through December 31, 1998) -- Require removal of the Edwards Dam (FERC #2389). Restoration of alewives will be initiated to selected lakes and ponds in the Seven Mile Stream, Sebasticook River, and Wesserunsett Stream drainages. During Phase I, restoration of alewives will be accomplished by trap and truck.
Originally, the Edwards Dam was chosen to be the primary site for capture of broodstock for this restoration program. However, this dam's owners chose not to participate in the program supported by owners of the remaining dams above the head of tide, who cooperate as the Kennebec Hydro Developers Group (KHDG). No facilities were available at Edwards in 1987 and 1988. An experimental fish pump installed in 1988 proved ineffective in capturing sufficient numbers of alewives for restocking. Since 1987, broodstock have been collected on the Androscoggin River from the Brunswick Dam fish passage facility owned by CMP and operated by DMR. American Shad have been obtained from the Connecticut and Merrimack Rivers in Massachusetts and the Narraguagus River in Maine.
Phase I of the plan includes alewife stocking of those lakes which have been mutually agreed upon by DMR and IF&W. The stocking rate for these Phase I lakes is six (6) adult alewives per surface acre of lake habitat. This amounted to 11 of the 21 lakes. DEP has requested that stocking of the 3 ponds in the Seven-Mile Stream drainage system be deferred in order for them to establish a longterm water quality data base for these environmentally stressed systems. This results in a total stocking requirement for the remaining 8 lakes of 57,750 adult alewives.
The objective for shad during Phase I is to pass 2,500+ adults per year at the Edwards Dam with restoration to be initiated to the river segment between Augusta and the Lockwood Dam. Nonexistent or ineffective fish passage at Edwards Dam since 1987 has required that shad be obtained from other sources; however, the numbers stocked have not approached the goal of 2,500 fish. Therefore, unless new sources become available, the goal for American shad is to stock 1,000 fish annually.
Phase II (Starting in 1999) -- Fish passage will be required at all mainstem dams on the Kennebec River up to the Abenaki Dam (FERC #2364) in Madison, on the mainstem dams on the Sebasticook River up to the confluence of the east and west branches, and at the Madison Electric Works Dam on the Sandy River. Passage will be required at one year intervals proceeding upstream with the exceptions that passage will be required concurrently at the Lockwood Dam (FERC #2574), Winslow Dam (FERC #2322), Fort Halifax Dam (FERC #2552), and the Benton Falls Project (FERC #5073). The required fish passage in these dams is mainly for the benefit of American shad and Atlantic salmon.
The feasibility of truck stocking alewives as a substitute for fish passage facilities will be evaluated during Phase I. It may be decided to continue the truck stocking of alewives during Phase II.
The introduction of alewives into the following lakes during Phase II is dependent on the outcome of a joint study by the DMR and IF&W: Great Moose Lake, Spectacle Pond, China Lake, Big Indian Pond, Little Indian Pond, Wassokeag Lake, Clearwater Pond, and Norcross Pond. This study is for the purpose of assessing the interactions of alewives with smelts and salmonids. Based upon the results of these studies, a cooperative decision will be made regarding future alewife introductions into the above listed waters.36 Atlantic Salmon. The ASRSC has had a legislative mandate to restore and manage Atlantic salmon populations to Maine's rivers for nearly 45 years. The Commission's Statewide Strategic Management Plan for Atlantic Salmon in Maine (1984) targets the Kennebec River (and other Group "C" rivers) for Atlantic salmon restoration when resources for that project can be made available for the Kennebec without detracting from existing management and restoration programs (the Group "A" and Group "B" rivers), as outlined in that document.
The interim plan for Atlantic salmon is to move whatever salmon become available at the Edwards Dam upriver.
Self-sustaining Atlantic salmon populations co-exist with other coldwater and warmwater fisheries on several Maine river systems. It is the ASRSC's belief that an Atlantic salmon population and fishery can exist in the Kennebec watershed without jeopardizing existing fisheries.
Achieving the ASRSC's long-term restoration goal for the Kennebec River is dependent upon the availability of adequate fish passage facilities at all Kennebec River dams. As the first obstacle encountered by anadromous fish upon their return to the river, fish passage at the Augusta dam or dam removal is critical to future salmon restoration efforts on the Kennebec River. Although a minor amount of salmon nursery area exists between Augusta and Waterville in tributaries, most of the salmon rearing area in the Kennebec lies upstream from other impassable dams.
Significant numbers of suitable hatchery reared-stocks are currently available from the aquaculture industry and from the captive broodstock program at Green Lake National Fish Hatchery for a Kennebec River Atlantic salmon restoration program. Stocking has not occurred to date because the Commission felt that stocking of upriver areas in the Kennebec should coincide with a commitment to fish passage at the Augusta dam and the Commission did not have adequate staffing to oversee and coordinate an active restoration program on the Kennebec. Assurance of fish passage or dam removal at the Edwards Dam will most likely result in implementation of a more active program on the Kennebec.
Interim Atlantic salmon passage on the Kennebec River is needed until such time as significant numbers of hatchery salmon are committed to the Kennebec salmon restoration and a long-term fish passage program is adopted. An interim passage program for upstream fish passage will involve trapping at Augusta and transport of salmon to selected upstream areas, in a manner that makes use of their reproductive potential. Long-term fish passage needs involve upstream and downstream fish passage facilities at dams above Augusta.
All anadromous fish species found in Maine have reproducing populations in the Kennebec River. These species are listed in Table 13 with a brief summary of their life histories. Detailed life histories of the alewife, shad, rainbow smelt, Atlantic sturgeon, Shortnosed sturgeon, and striped bass are described below.37 Life Histories Alewife. The anadromous alewife, Alosapseudoharengus, is one of the most abundant of the ten anadromous fish species native to the State of Maine. In recent years, this species has become Maine's most valuable commercial anadromous fishery resource. The 1975 landings of 3,407,110 pounds represented a record value of $127,573 for this species. Because of its value as lobster bait and the great potential for development of this resource, increased emphasis has been directed toward rehabilitation of runs in watersheds which historically supported large populations of the alewife. Results of recent surveys suggest that Maine rivers have the capability to support an alewife harvest of 30-50 million pounds annually.
The alewife, a member of the herring family (Clupeidae), is easily distinguished by its silvery sides, deep body flattened sidewise, and deeply forked tail. It has large, smooth scales which are easily lost when the fish is handled. The species is differentiated from the true sea herring by its sharp, saw-toothed scales along the midline of the belly and the fact that the dorsal fin originates just forward of the midpoint of the back. The sea herring, by comparison, has weakly saw-toothed scales along the midline of the belly and the dorsal fin originates to the rear of the midpoint of the back. In body form, the alewife is generally one-third as deep as it is long, while the sea herring is about one-fourth as deep as long. Alewives on the spawning run average 11-12" in length and are slightly over 1/2 pound in weight.
The geographical range of the alewife is the Atlantic coast from Newfoundland and the Gulf of St. Lawrence to North Carolina. Landlocked populations of the alewife occur in the Great Lakes and in certain lakes of New York State. Historically, the sea-run alewife probably occurred in every stream of Maine where access was available to lakes, ponds, and river dead water areas. Commercially exploitable runs occurred in the St. Croix, Pennamaquan, Dennys,