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Running of the alewives

The running of the alewives is one of Mother Nature's great spectacles. These small anadromous fish power upstream to reach their spawning grounds, and thousands of people flock to streams to witness the drama every spring.

In this first Borealis story, we'll explore the hype surrounding the 11 mile pilgrimage Maine alewives take from the salty Gulf of Maine to Highland Lake, a freshwater haven. We'll hear from Zachary Whitener of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute on why these fish are crucial to land and sea ecosystems, and how conservation efforts in the last few decades have helped the population recover. Plus, we'll hear from Deb and Mark Wilson about the purpose of something called a "fish ladder" at Damariscotta Mills and how alewife harvests are crucial to the local economy.

If you leave this video with one feeling, it's hope in the resurgence of this intrepid little fish.

Watch every Borealis video on Maine Public's YouTube channel. Don't miss the exclusive content only available on this channel and on Maine Public's Instagram.

Borealis is made possible by the generous support of our Production Sponsors The Nature Conservancy in Maine and Poland Spring.

And by our Broadcast Sponsors: Evergreen Home Performance, Conservation Law Foundation, The Maine Office of Tourism.

Production Credits:

Produced by: Brian Bechard
Written by: Brian Bechard & Jennifer Rooks
Videography by: Brian Bechard
Edited by: Brian Bechard
Music: Travel Feelings - Storyblocks
Archival Photographs - Maine Memory Network & The Damariscotta Fish Restoration Project
Additional Footage: City of Westbrook, Steven Chu, Nick Woodward