Conservation | Video spotlight

The Rise of the River Herring

If you ever have doubts that ocean-going fish like shad, herring and salmon can recover with just a little help, take a quick look at the video below, produced by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

In Maine’s Damariscotta River, in the community of Damariscotta Mills, the restoration of a 200-year-old fish ladder has increased the numbers of spawning river herring and alewife from about 80,000 to over a million. All it took was modernizing a fish ladder that gave the returning fish a chance to reach Damariscotta Lake, where they spawn.

Ongoing work along the Maine Coast is adding promise to future runs of shad, herring, striped bass and even Atlantic salmon—TU has been involved in the effort to remove and bypass dams on the Penobscot River, where more than 1,000 miles of spawning habitat was once blocked to upstream fish migration. With dams gone, or bypasses around them complete, that habitat is no longer inaccessible.

With just a little help, the fish will often do the rest. See for yourself in the short film above.