2013 Spring Fish Count @ Nequasset
Thank you for your interest in the restoration of Nequasset fish ladder in Woolwich, Maine and assisting one of the world’s great migrations!
Alewives are anadromous fish that spend the majority of their life at sea but return to freshwater to spawn. Alewives have been an important cultural and economic component of Woolwich for centuries. Because of continued careful stewardship, Nequasset is considered one of the top alewife runs in the State. The fish ladder is in disrepair and will be rebuilt in late summer to ensure access to spawning habitat in Nequasset Lake. Return to Project Overview
Video instructions CLICK HERE
We count every day from early April to early June 6:00 am – 8:00 pm. Select a two hour period from the 2013 signup sheet (a googledoc). You will any count TWO 10 minute blocks within your two hour period. Whatever works for you!
USFWS surveying the ladder in preparation for restoration. Volunteers, please do not walk on the ladder!
Park along George Wright Road or in the lot below Woolwich Town Hall. Walk through the gate and down the dirt road to the fish house. PLEASE don’t block the road, or drive down. This is reserved for the harvest crew and bait buyers. DIRECTIONS
- Collect the plastic tub of counting gear from the fish house, the lower building on the water. It should be right inside the door. Carry tub to the top of the dam.
- Unlock the gate to the dam, the combination is in the counting tub.
- If the surface of the dam is wet it may be slippery. Please be safe and do not count. Simply record conditions on the data sheet and return materials to the fish house.
- Take air temperature (F) with the thermometer in the tub, then take water temperature by securing the string and dropping the thermometer into the head pond (above the dam) for at least three minutes before taking a reading.
- Using the data sheet provided (waterproof paper), write down the water temperature (F), air temperature (F) and any brief comments about the weather, percent cloud cover, predators (such as seagulls, seals, etc.).
- Find a comfortable position with a good view of the top pool, just where the dam meets the head pond.
- Check your watch, write down the times you start and end your count (e.g., 14:17-14:27, 14:55-15:05).
- Hold the clicker and…. each time a fish passes over the final baffle and enters into Nequasset Pond click!
- Record your data on the data sheet.
- If you don’t see any fish during a 10-minute counting period, write down 0 fish. This is important data!
- Leave your completed data sheet and other equipment in the plastic tub, and return to the fish house.
- To avoid spooking the fish, wear dull-colored clothing (not orange or red), stand still and try not to cast a shadow on the stream.
- Polarized sunglasses will help you see the fish better.
- Hold the thermometer by the string, so you don’t change the temperature with body heat.
- Remember to zero the counter on the clicker-counter before you start counting!
- If there is no thermometer, if there is no counter, if you need more recording forms, or there are other problems, please call Alicia at 978-500-6749.
Other observations are welcome and often useful. Examples of potentially useful observations are:
- Other fish (e.g., American eels, etc.)
- Estimated numbers of herring downstream or upstream of the counting site, even if they have not passed you during your count period
- Fish behavior (e.g., schooling, milling about, heading upstream or downstream, not passing through culverts, etc.)
- Numbers of seagulls or other predators or fishermen
- Other observed animals
- Water quality, color of water
- Height of water relative to some marker
- Juvenile fish
- Herring returning to the sea after spawning
- Spawning in the run or stream itself (likely to be Blueback herring rather than Alewife, which prefer to spawn in ponds)
This year, researchers from the University of Southern Maine are performing a video count, simultaneous with our visual count. Please do not touch this equipment. If you notice a problem with the video gear, or if the exit is blocked with debris please contact one of the numbers below.
This project was prepared by Kennebec Estuary Land Trust under award NOAA CZM NA11NOS4190077 and TU-NOAA NB1 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or the Department of Commerce.
Alicia Heyburn, Project Manager at Kennebec Estuary Land Trust, (978) 500-6749 – cell
Bill Potter, Chairman, Woolwich Fish Commission, (207) 443-9633
Steve Bodge and Herb Lilly, harvesters are often at the fish house and can help.
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