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Restoration of Migratory Fish to the Mousam and Kennebunk Rivers

About the project

In 2008, a group of citizens and conservation groups met to discuss the possibility of returning native migratory fish runs to the Mousam and Kennebunk Rivers. Out of these discussions a plan was formulated to gather information about the historic and current condition of these fish and to begin to spread the word to the local communities. In 2009, Maine Rivers will host a conference where river stakeholders will come together to discuss the rivers and share knowledge. At the same time the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve will begin monitoring the current status of migratory fish in the rivers. Once the condition of the fisheries is known, the groups will come together again to draft a restoration plan for the Mousam and Kennebunk Rivers. The restoration plan will set out strategies for providing fish passage over barriers, removal of unused and deteriorating dams, conservation and expansion of habitat, and outreach and involvment of the communities.


Click on the links below to view maps of the Kennebunk and Mousam Rivers


Click on the links below to read the latest project press coverage

Learning to Love the Mousam

A video by Lee Burnett

Fisheries Assessment

On May 21st and 22nd, the Wells Reserve and enthusiastic volunteers set out on the Mousam River Estuary to see what type of fish were in the river. Nets were set in three side channels and fished twice in a 24 hour period. The most abundant species caught was Carcinus maenas, the European green crab, which is an exotic species with a strong foothold in Maine waters. Of the many diadromous species often found in Maine rivers, several adult American eels were caught. In addition, 5 juvenile herring were caught and later identified as Alosa psedoharengus, alewives!! This leads us to wonder if alewives are spawning in the Mousam River estuary.

Here is a picture of an adult river herring (alewife or blueback) caught with a dip net further upstream. We put this fish back in the river in the hopes that it might find a place to spawn.

Healthy watersheds are important.

Kennebunk Elementary School Students show us why. Click on the picture to learn more.