St. Croix River Herring Home Coming - Grand Falls Dam
Wednesday June 5, 2013
08:00 am – Distinguished Guests begin arriving at Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge for coffee and pastry.
08:30 am – Short Passamaquoddy Presentation and Discussion of St. Croix River Herring Issue.
09:20 am – Distinguished Guests Depart from Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge for Grand Falls dam.
10:00 am – Passamaquoddy Welcome Song upon arrival of distinguished guests at Grand Falls, followed by Alewife Song.
Ř Speakers: Tribal Chiefs and Passamaquoddy Legislative Representative; Canadian Consul; Maine Department of Marine Resources Deputy Commissioner; US Federal Officials from USFWS, NMFS, EPA, BIA.
Ř Signing of federal government-to-tribal government document pledging support for working together with the goal of St.Croix Watershed diadromous fish restoration.
Ř Round Dance.
Ř Group Photos
12:00 pm – Federal and Tribal Participants in “Listening Session” depart for lunch in Calais.
1:00 pm – Lunch.
2:00 pm – Federal-Tribal Consultation and Listening Forum in The River View Hall, Assembly Room, Washington County Community College. (Open Agenda for Tribal and Federal people)
5:00 pm – Adjourn.
6:00 pm – Group dinner at TBA.
Thursday June 6, 2013
08:00 am – Next Steps (St. Croix River Specific) Technical Workshop at Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge.
SIQONOMEQ (ALEWIFE) VIDEO AND INFORMATION
For thousands of years many anadromous (sea-run) fish have migrated up the St. Croix to spawn in the headwaters of the river. This is a story about the indigenous alewife and how these fish have been blocked from their spawning territory by the state for the past 17 years. It is also about how some influential tribal leaders have been manipulated and influenced to support the blockage. This is a Passamaquoddy perspective on environmental stewardship and history and how political decisions have affected the river and the ecosystem.
The target audience is for tribal members but this message is universal and can be beneficial for all, especially those interested in the St Croix River and the Alewife.
In 1995, the Maine law blocked the state’s St. Croix fishways to alewife migration, at the request of local smallmouth bass guides who felt that alewife was a threat to their sport fishing industry and livelihoods. While studies have since disproved this, repeated attempts to remove the state barriers and restore the indigenous alewife run have had minimal success.
For 18 years the state blocked alewives from 98% of their historic St. Croix spawning habitat. The results of this blockage have been dramatic. A St. Croix alewife run of 2.6 million fish in 1987 collapsed to just 900 fish in 2002 and, with the removal of one state barrier in 2008, recovered to 25,000 fish last year. The St. Croix has the reported potential to support a run of 4.5 million alewife spawners along with an active commercial fishery, a fishery that Passamaquoddy people hold an interest in and an inherent right of access, on both sides of the watershed.
The blockage has negatively affected the unique St Croix ecosystem and many species that depend upon alewives for food, including commercial ground fish, the endangered right whale, the region’s osprey and eagle population etc.
UPDATE: Finally the state has done the right thing. Begining on May 1, 2013 a new law LD-72 requires the Grand Falls fishway to be open for the free passage of alewife. The alewife can now come back home! Bangor Daily News Article on Alewife
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Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point